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Dimocarpus longan

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Dimocarpus longan Lour.

Family Name: Sapindaceae
Synonyms: Euphoria longana, Nephelium longana
Common Name: Longan, Mata Kuching, Lungen, Dragon's Eye, 龙眼

Name

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Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
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Name Status (botanical)
Synonyms
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Comments

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Big (>30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Rounded
Maximum Height 40 m
Tree or Palm – Trunk Diameter 1 m

Biogeography

Native Distribution From Sri Lanka, India, Southern China to Malesia.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Monsoon Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A large tree that grows up to 40 m tall with a round-topped crown of dense leaves.
Foliage Leaves compound, with elliptical leaflets that have soft hairs above at the basal part of the mid-rib and tufts of soft hairs beneath mainly on the midrib and nerves.
Stems Trunk reaching 1 m in diameter, sometimes buttressed. Branches terete (= slender like a tapering cylinder and more or less circular in cross-section) with five faint grooves, sometimes with warty pores, known as lenticels, and densely covered with rusty-brown soft hairs.
Flowers Inflorescence terminal, 8-40 cm long, densely covered with soft hairs, bearing flowers that are pale yellow to yellow-brown and fragrant. Petals are densely woolly to glabrous (= without hairs).
Fruits Fruit a yellow-brown drupe (= a fleshy fruit containing one or more seeds, each enclosed within a stony layer), 1-3 cm in diameter, surface smooth to warty and granular to touch. Each fruit contains a single shinny blackish-brown seed that is covered by a thin translucent white fleshy layer.
Habitat D. longan is a subtropical species that also grows well in the tropics. A distinct change of seasons is needed for satisfactory flowering to occur, with prolific blooming occurring with a short cool winter season.
Cultivation D. longan thrives on rich sandy loams, while moderately acidic sandy soils are less preferred and organic humus-rich soils reduces flowering in plants probably because shoot growth is encouraged instead. The tree requires moderate to lots of water, but should not be over-watered. D. longan is suitable for growing indoors and in pots. Propagation methods include air layering, grafting and seed.
Etymology Dimocarpus the genus name is from the Greek “dis”, meaning twice, and “karpos” meaning fruit, likely referring to the two-lobed pistil. The specific epithet, longan, is derived from the Mandarin “long yan” (龙眼), literally meaning “dragon’s eye”, in reference to the resemblance of fruits of D. longan to dragon eyes.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves, Edible Flowers, Edible Seeds)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Fruits of D. longan, otherwise commonly called longans, are mainly eaten fresh. Longans may also be canned in its own juice with little or no sugar to prolong the lifespan of the fruits. Canned longans are thought to retain their flavour better than canned lychees (Litchi chinensis) and rambutans (Nephelium lappaceum). In addition, longans can be preserved by drying, either with the fruit covering intact or removed, with the result being a sweet leathery black flesh that is used in flavouring and to make beverages, including liquor.)
Medicinal ( The fruit flesh and seeds of D. longan have medicinal uses, while leaves and flowers are used by the Chinese as herbs.)
Timber & Products ( Timber from D. longan is red and hard, but rarely available although useful.)
Cultural / Religious ( Heritage Tree: There is currently 1 individual of Dimocarpus longan listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore. It can be found in Sembawang Park. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.)
[Others]: Seeds are used as a shampoo.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Fragrant (Flowers) (Day)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Acidic (low pH) Soils
Landscape Uses Shade Providing Tree / Palm, Focal Plant, Container Planting

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Grafting, Air-Layering

Foliar

Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical)
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Brown, Yellow / Golden

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown, Yellow / Golden
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Drupe

Image Repository

Images

Others

Master ID 1555
Species ID 2848
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 03 August 2022.
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