Lychee is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae.
It is a tropical tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of southeastern China, where cultivation is documented from the 11th century. China is the main producer of lychees, followed by India, other countries in Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and South Africa. A tall evergreen tree, the lychee bears small fleshy fruits. The outside of the fruit is pink-red, roughly textured and inedible, covering sweet flesh eaten in many different dessert dishes.
Lychee seeds contain methylene cyclopropyl glycine which can cause hypoglycemia associated with outbreaks of encephalopathy in undernourished Indian and Vietnamese children who had consumed lychee fruit.
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