- Scientific Name: Dimocarpus longan
- Origin: Southern China, Myanmar
- Varieties: Numerous, many longan varieties follow a fruiting cycle whereby a good crop year is followed by 1-2 or more bad years.
- Tree height: 10-20 m
- Fruit diameter: 1-3 cm
- Season: fruits twice a year (end of dry season and late summer)
Longan also known as “dragon’s eye” (because of an ovoid, white eye shaped mark on the pit). The longan is China’s gift to Southeast Asia, where it was brought by Chinese emigrants hundred of years ago. The evergreen longan tree has heavily foliaged branches with leathery leaves which have a glossy surface and underneath are covered with minute hair. The flowers are pale yellow and hairy. The juicy pulp, which is easily separated from its shell, is white and translucent. Embedded in it is a large, shiny jet black seed. The fruit has a juicy and sweet taste.
Longan is frequently eaten fresh or from the can in which it floats in its own juice, the longan can also be cooked with delicious results. In general, the fruit is considered tastier than the lychee but it is not as juicy. Longan is sometimes used instead of lychees or cherries in fruit salads, sweet and sour dishes and as garnish for cocktail drinks. The Javanese and the Chinese dry the fruit and then use it as a tea drink.
Nutrient Value: per 100 g
- Vitamin A 28 IU
- Vitamin B10.04 mg
- Vitamin B2 0.07 mg
- Niacin 0.6 mg
- Vitamin C 6-8 mg
- Protein 1 g
- Calcium 2-10 mg
- Phosphorous 6-42 mg
- Iron 0.3-1.2 mg
- Carbohydrate16-25 g
- Fat 0.1-0.5 g
Names of Longan in different countries:
- English: longan, lungan, dragon eye
- Spanish: longán, longana
- French: longanier, oeil de dragon
- Indonesia, Malaysia: leng-keng
- Burma: kyet mouk
- Cambodia: mien
- Laos: lam nhai, nam nhai
- Thailand: lamyai pa
- Vietnam: nhan
Health / Medicinal Benefits:
- Longan is used as remedy for stomach ache, insomnia, amnesia, and dropsy.
- The fruit is said to invigorate the heart and spleen, nourish the blood and have a calming effect on the nervous system.
- A spoonful of longan tonic made of equal quantities of longan flesh and sugar simmered in water till it is reduced to a syrup consistency is recommended twice a day.
- A decoction of the dried flesh is taken as a tonic and treatment for insomnia and neurasthenic neurosis.
- In Vietnam, the “eye” of the longan seed is pressed against snakebite in the belief that it will absorb the venom.
- The seeds are administered to counteract heavy sweating, the pulverized kernel, which contains saponin, tannin and fat, serves as a styptic (substance that draws together or constricts body tissues and is effective in stopping the flow of blood or other secretions).
- The seeds contain saponin that is used like soapberries for shampooing the hair.
- The seeds and the rind are burned for fuel.
- The wood is used for posts, agricultural implements, furniture and construction.