A farmer in Australia has successfully bred the first-ever seedless lychees almost two decades after spending $5,000 on fruit trees ordered from China.
Tibby Dixon has since developed numerous lychee varieties through cross-pollinating flowers and selective breeding over the past decades.
Mr. Dixon’s latest creation is seedless lychees, which he described as ‘very flavoursome’ and taste ‘a bit like pineapple.’
The newly-bred lychees are a medium-size fruit, around 1.5 to 1.9 inches in diameter. It comes in different shades of red and the inside is clear white and squishy – and seedless!
Growing seedless lychees was challenging for many reasons. Aside from selective breeding and cross-pollination knowledge and skills, it also requires time as many generations of plants have to pass until the preferred plant characteristic develops.
In an interview with ABC, the lychee farmer of over 40 years said that creating new varieties of lychee has been ‘a long, hard slog.’
He explained that he managed to create a seedless variety by cross-pollinating and he didn’t stop until he gets his desired results.
His next challenge is growing a crop of trees on Australian farms. “Within a couple of years we should have enough to sell out in commercial numbers,” Mr. Dixon said.
“You have to ensure that the material you’re going to sell is highly productive.”
One internet user commented: “Great. I’ve never even thought about Lychees before and now I gotta have one. Somehow I doubt they’re available in fly over country in January.”
Another wrote: “So much yes! Will they be more expensive sine you get more lychee in lychee.”
A third added: “This is great! I love lychees but the seeds are just so annoying.”
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