Discover The 8 Popular Litchi Varieties Available In India
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With the ongoing summer season and the intense heat waves blowing across the country, people are trying various means to beat the heat. However, the markets are filled with a bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables to enjoy in the summer season. As it is widely known, mangoes are the ‘king of fruits’ and people wait for the summer season to experience this. However, do you know about the ‘queen of fruits?’ It is none other than your favourite juicy litchi.   

Litchi, also known as lychee, is a succulent and juicy treat that is a symbol of the tropical bounty of India. Litchi originated in ancient China and then made its way to the Indian subcontinent several centuries ago. It flourished in India due to its warm and humid climate conditions. Litch offers healthy minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. In recent times, India has seen a large variety of litchi, each with a distinct flavour, aromas and texture. Take a look at the litchi varieties found in India:   

  • Shahi Litchi   

Hailing from the Muzaffarpur area of Bihar, litchi is one of the commercial cultivars cultivated for table purposes. This variety of litchi flourishes in the third week of May and is oval and conical in shape. There appear crimson-red tubercles on a uranium-green background at maturity. The pulp is juicy and melts in the mouth, leaving a lingering sweetness. It is a heavy-bearing variety with large fruits, having an average yield of 90–100 kg. per tree.   

  • China Litchi  

This litchi is also cultivated as a table fruit in the Muzaffarpur area of Bihar. It is a semi-dwarf variety that starts ripening in the third week of May. The average yield is 80–100 kg/tree. The fruit here is medium- to large-sized, globose, with a red and orange hue.  China litchi has intense sweetness in them. 

  • Kasba Litchi  

This variety of litchi is mostly grown in the eastern part of Bihar. Here, the fruits are medium- to large-sized and heart-shaped. They have red tubercles on a reddish background at maturity. It ripens during the first week of June. The average yield is 80–100 kg/tree.   

  • Purbi Litchi  

They are mostly grown for table purposes in eastern Bihar and are medium-to-large in size. They are oblong-conical in shape and start to ripen at the end of May or the first week of June. Once they mature, red tubercles appear on a pinkish-brown background. This litchi has a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. The average yield is 90–100 kg/tree.   

  • Early Seedless Litchi (Early Bedana)  

They are the earliest litchi varieties and are grown as table fruit. They hail from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. It is a medium- to poor-yielding variety but bears regularly. The yield of fruit varies from 50 to 60 kg/tree. The litchis are mainly small-to-medium in size and are heart-to-oval in shape. They have carmine-red tubercles at maturity. The overall quality of the fruit is succulent and juicy.  This litchi bursts with sweetness and aroma and the pulp is soft and greyish-white in colour. 

  • Rose-Scented Litchi  

Hailing from the Muzaffarpur area of Bihar, this variety of litchi is cultivated for table purposes. Apart from having a high fruit quality, this litchi is famous for its distinct rose aroma and is thus called Rose Scented. The fruit is a mid-season variety that usually starts ripening in the first week of June. The fruit is medium-to-large, mostly oval or heart-shaped and bears a deep rose pink colour. The pulp is greyish white, which is soft and juicy. The average yield is 80–90 kg/tree.  This litchi has a unique flavour profile combining floral notes with a hint of tartness. It can also be used in culinary creations.  

  • Bombai Litchi   

Originating in West Bengal, this is an important commercial variety cultivated for table purposes. It starts ripening during the first to second week of May. The trees are vigorous, attain an average height of 6.7 m and spread across 7-8 m. The fruits are large and heart-shaped and on maturity, they turn carmine-red tubercles on a uranium-green background. In this variety, each developed fruit has another tiny, under-developed fruit attached to the fruit stalk. The pulp is greyish-white and soft and juicy. Bombai litchi has sweet, aromatic flesh. The average yield is 80–90 kg/tree.  

  • Calcutta (Kalkattia)  

This is considered the best of all the varieties grown in the northern parts of India as table fruit. It can be successfully cultivated even in hotter areas, but there needs to be protection from the strong hot winds and the provision of plenty of water for irrigation. It is a late-season variety of fruit that ripens in the last week of June. The trees of this variety attain an average height of 4m and spread across 6m. The fruits are large in size and oblong, with tyrian, rose-coloured, and dark tubercles appearing at maturity. The pulp is creamy, white, soft, juicy, and very sweet in taste. The average yield is 80–100 kg/tree.