The lychee is the most renowned of a group of edible fruits of the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. It is botanically designated Litchi chinensis Sonn. (Nephelium litchi Cambess) and widely known as litchi and regionally as lichi, lichee, laichi, leechee or lychee. Lychees are most relished fresh, out-of-hand. Peeled and pitted, they are commonly added to fruit cups and fruit salads. Estimates show that, annually over 100,000 tonnes of litchi is traded internationally. Markets such as the US, Holland and France are known to pay as much as US$14 per kg for Chinese lychees.
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