Pg. 18-23 Litchi Cultivar Evalutions: Progress and Implications

The choice of commercial cultivars in the South African litchi industry is currently limited to only two cultivars, namely HLH Mauritius and McLean’s Red. The importation and evaluation of cultivars is therefore a high priority for the litchi industry. A project was initiated where all locally available and recently imported cultivars are evaluated under a range of climatic conditions. It is known that successful cultivars in a given region frequently fail to perform equally well in other areas. Trial blocks in different climatic areas were therefore selected to represent the major litchi production areas in South Africa. Trees in the cultivar evaluation programme are now six years old and most cultivars produced their first measurable yield in 1997. Cultivars have been screened for a range of fruit and tree characteristics. This paper deals with the performance of cultivars in the different trial sites.

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