Have you experienced the “dragon’s eye?” This sweet and tropical fruit is a member of the same family of fruit as lychee, a crowd-pleaser on FruitStand.
The longan, or Dimocarpus longan, is a tropical tree native to tropical Asia and China that is a member of the soapberry family along with lychee and rambutan. These trees typically grow 30-40 feet tall, but can reach a height of 100 feet with the right conditions. The earliest recorded mention of the longan tree dates back to the Han Dynasty in 200 BC. The trees started making their way out of Asia and into Florida, Hawaii, and California in the early 1900's.
The longan fruit grows in clusters that hang in droops from the tree. Each circular fruit is about 1 inch in diameter, typically ranging from the size of an olive to a small plum. The word longan means 'dragon's eye' in Cantonese because of the appearance of the seed when the shell has been removed and the fruit exposed.