Longan Fruits and The Longan Tree

Published:  09:32 Thursday - May 27, 2010

Longan Fruits and The Longan Tree

The Ha Nam people in general and Ly Nhan people in particular have inherited a traditional vocation from their ancestor. It is longan processing. In the longan season, Ly Nhan people go to all parts of the country to buy longans and process them. Some people build tens of hectare farms in the Mekong Delta area to collect and process longans.

The Longan Tree
(dimocarpus longana / euphoria longana)

This tree is native to Southern China. It is also grown in Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and other parts of South East Asia.

A bunch of unriped longan fruits hanging from the tree.


China is a major exporter of longans. In Lamphun Province, Thailand, a Longan Festival is held around July-August every year. There will be a longan fruit festival, exhibition, contest for best quality longan and even a Miss Longan Beauty Contest. Longan is known as 'lumyai' in Thailand. Move over to Taiwan, and they have the Dongshan Longan Festival.

A bunch of riped longan fruits.

The Longan Fruit is also known as "mata kuching" in malay, meaning cat's eye. In chinese, "longan" means dragon's eye. In Vietnam, it is known as "long nhan".

Longan fruits are in season now. We can find longans being sold at many fruit stalls throughout the country. These longans are very sweet and tasty.

An opened longan fruit

The skin of the fruit is dry and thin. It is brown in colour and looks like frog skin. The flesh on the inside is crystal white in colour while the seed is black, hard and round. The flesh of the longan fruit is very sweet and delicious. Riped fruits can be eaten fresh from the tree.

Canned longan flesh is used to make cold desserts, added to jellies, and as toppings on fruit cakes and tarts. Canned longans can be made into cold drinks, mix fruit drink and added to fruit punch.

While fresh longan flesh is white in colour, dried longan flesh is dark brown to almost black in colour. Dried longan flesh is consumed for health purposes. Here, it is mixed with other herbs to make herbal soups, herbal drinks and hot desserts.

The Longan Tree

The longan tree is small to medium size. A full grown longan tree can reach up to 40 feet tall. The longan tree doesn't stand drought, therefore it is necessary water it regularly. Constant prunning is also needed. This tree needs quite a lot of space to grow. The tree in the picture above belongs to my neighbour. The front portion of the garden is around 5ft by 5ft, just enough to accomodate this tree. Flowering occurs around March and fruiting is usually from July to September. A bountiful harvest this season may reduce the next season's quantity of longans.
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