The Longan is a popular subtropical fruit tree with a native distribution in Sri Lanka, India, South China and Malesia.
It can grow up to 40 m tall but typically reaches between 10 and 15 m in Singapore. It has a round-topped crown. The leaves are compound and consist of paired leaflets with wavy margins.
The fragrant flowers are pale yellow to yellow-brown, and the inflorescences are borne at the branch tips.
The grape-sized fruit are highly valued for their juiciness and sweetness and are produced in showy clusters. They contain a single dark brown seed covered with a thin layer of translucent flesh resembling the eye of a dragon, hence this tree’s common name in Mandarin, long yan, which means ‘dragon’s eye’. The flesh is eaten fresh. It can also be dried, preserved in syrup or cooked in sweet dishes. It has limited medicinal properties, and can be used to promote appetite and assist digestion.
This is the first Longan tree to be endorsed as a Heritage Tree. It had a girth of 3.0 m and height of 15.3 m in 2018.