lychee

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lychee

lychee (lēˈchē), Chinese tree (Litchi chinensis) of the family Sapindaceae (soapberry family), having a small, aromatic, pulpy fruit with a large seed within a thin, rough shell. It is the best-known Chinese fruit and a favorite with the Chinese, who use it fresh, canned, dried, or preserved. When dried it appears as a nut with a raisinlike center; when canned its outer shell is removed. The fruit, particularly the seed, contains toxins and other substances that have been implicated in an acute noninflammatory hypoglycemic encephalopathy that has occurred primarily in malnourished children, especially when they have eaten underripe fruits on an empty stomach. The tree is now grown in other warm countries and to some extent in the United States in S Florida and California. Among variant spellings are leechee, lichee, and litchi. Lychees are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Sapindaceae.
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lychee

[′lī‚chē]
(botany)
A tree of the genus Litchi in the family Sapindaceae, especially L. chinensis which is cultivated for its edible fruit, a one-seeded berry distinguished by the thin, leathery, rough pericarp that is red in most varieties. Also spelled litchi.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

litchi

, lichee, lichi, lychee
1. a Chinese sapindaceous tree, Litchi chinensis, cultivated for its round edible fruits
2. the fruit of this tree, which has a whitish juicy edible aril
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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