12. Litchi Sonnerat, Voy. Indes Orient. 3: 255. 1782.
荔枝属 li zhi shu
Trees, monoecious. Leaves paripinnate, alternate, estipulate. Thyrses terminal, golden tomentose; bracts and bracteoles small. Flowers unisexual, actinomorphic. Calyx cupular, 4- or 5-lobed, valvate, opening early. Petals absent. Disk acetabuliform, entire. Stamens (male flowers) 6-8, exserted; filaments filiform, pilose. Ovary (female flowers) shortly stalked, obcordiform, 2(or 3)-lobed, 2(or 3)-loculed; ovules 1 per locule; style inserted between ovary lobes; stigma 2- or 3-lobed. Fruit deeply parted into 2 or 3 schizocarps, usually only 1 or 2 developed, ovoid or subglobose; pericarp leathery (crustaceous when dry), abaxially with tortoise-shell-like fissure, with scattered conical prominents, sometimes nearly smooth. Seeds nearly same shape as schizocarps; testa brown, nitid, leathery, arillode fleshy, wrapping all or lower half of seed; embryo erect. 2n = 28, 30.
One species: SE Asia; widely cultivated in subtropical regions.
See the notes on Litchi by Leenhouts (Blumea 24: 398-402. 1978).