Longan trees can produce thousands of ping-pong ball sized fruits that are eaten fresh or dried. They look a bit similar to ‘langsat’ and ‘longkong’. The fruits (also called Dragon Eye) can be eaten fresh, but can also be dried. Dried fruits have a dark color and are eaten as snacks or can be used in cooking.
Longan is native to South and Southeast Asia. A lot of fruits are produced in Thailand, China and Taiwan.
Longan is a member of the same family (Sapindaceae) as some other valuable fruits, including lychee and rambutan.
Basic information and facts
Southern China and Burma (but maybe also more south, south-west India and Sri Lanka)
Longan producing countries include Thailand, China, Taiwan, India and Vietnam.
Evergreen or deciduous:
Longan is an evergreen tree.
Pale yellow flowers on upright terminal panicles.
Alternate leaves with 4 to 10 opposite leaflets. The shape is elliptic or lanceolate and blunt-tipped. Leaves are 10-20 cm long and 3.5-5 cm wide. They are leathery with a glossy-green color on the upper surface and grayish-green on the lower surface. New leave growth has a wine-color.
Round fruits with a thin, brown-colored inedible shell. The flesh of the fruit is translucent white, soft, and juicy. It surrounds a big, black seed. That’s why it is called "Dragon’s Eye."
Climate and weather:
It is a subtropical tree but it grows well in the tropics. It needs a prominent change of seasons for satisfactory flowering. A cool season of 2-3 months results in abundant flowering.
Mainly by small insects, but also by wind.
9-12 meter (sometimes up to 20 m)
up to 14 meter
Type of soil:
Prefers rich sandy loam or moderately acid, somewhat organic, sand.
Spacing (close range):
6 x 6 meter
Spacing (wide range):
12 x 12 meter
Longan trees are mostly grown from seed.
The most important pest is the Longan stink bug: Tessaratoma javanica. Other pests include: Erinose mite, scales, fruit flies, aphids, stem borers, leaf eating caterpillars, flower eating caterpillars, mealy bug, fruit spotting bug, elephant beetles and fruit piercing moth.
Longan is relatively free of diseases. Main disease is Rosette shoot or Witches’ broom
Fruit bats or flying foxes eat longan fruits.
Longan fruits are eaten fresh or dried (after peeling skin and removing the seed).