Longan Dimocarpus Dragon Eye Seeds Plant Tropical Fruit Tree
The longan is a symmetrical, evergreen tree with dense dark green foliage. In south Florida, trees typically grow to 30-40 ft (9.1-12.2 m) in height and width. The crown tends to be round or oblong and the bark is corky.
The drupaceous fruit is spherical to ovoid, ¾ to 1 7/16 inches (22-36 mm) in diameter, and 0.21 to 0.67 oz (6-19 g) in weight. The peel is tan or light brown, thin, leathery, and smoother than that of lychee. The pulp is whitish and translucent; thin in large-seeded fruits and medium thick to thick in others. The fruit has 1 seed; globular and shiny, brown to dark brown. The pulp does not adhere to the seed and is flavorful and sweet. Longans usually bear fruit slightly later than lychees.
The fruit is sweet, juicy, and succulent in superior agricultural varieties, and apart from being eaten fresh, is also often used in East Asian soups, snacks, desserts, and sweet-and-sour foods, either fresh or dried, sometimes canned with syrup in supermarkets. The taste is quite different from lychees; while longan has a drier sweetness, lychees are often messily juicy with a more tropical, sour sweetness. The seed can be eaten as well as the shell.
Dried longan is often used in Chinese cuisine and Chinese sweet dessert soups. In Chinese food therapy and herbal medicine, it is believed to have an effect on relaxation. In contrast with the fresh fruit, which is juicy and white, the flesh of dried longans is dark brown to almost black. In Chinese medicine, the longan is much like the lychees.