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    Lychee and Longan

Below is an extract from a pollination research paper prepared by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  To download the document, simply click on the image on the left of this screen.

Self-pollination may occur in lychee, however, flowers are generally recognised as self-sterile and require insects to transport pollen from anther to stigma for fruit to set (Badiyala and Garg 1990; DuToit 1994; McGregor 1976).  Only partial overlapping between male and female flowering occurs within a cultivar and so inter-planting of at least two different cultivars is necessary for adequate fruit set.  Several insects have been reported to visit lychee flowers overseas including Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Homoptera and Lepidoptera; however, the honey bee has been widely recognised as the principal pollinator (McGregor 1976).

Many studies have shown significant increases in yield of lychee crops as a result of honey bee pollination.  Badiyala and Garg (1990) introduced four honey bee colonies into a lychee orchard in India at the start of flowering and recorded fruit set two to three times higher in inflorescences open to honey bees compared to those that were bagged to exclude them.  Similar results were recorded in South Africa by DuToit (1994) with a fruit set three times greater when inflorescences were open to honey bees.

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