Lychee (variously spelled litchi, liechee, liche, lizhi or li zhi, or lichee) (Litchi chinensis; Chinese: 荔枝; pinyin: lìzhī) 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 China, where cultivation is documented from 1059 AD. 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. Since the perfume-like flavour is lost in the process of canning, the fruit is usually eaten fresh.
Lychee contains many phytochemicals. The seeds have been found to contain methylenecyclopropylglycine which can cause hypoglycemia, while outbreaks of encephalopathy in Indian and Vietnamese children have also been linked to its consumption.