Pg. 12-13 Promising New Litchi Cultivars and Selections

The South African Litchi Industry is mainly based on two cultivars, namely HLH Mauritius and McLean’s Red. Due to the short harvesting season of the two cultivars and the undesirable time of ripening, as well as increasing competition from Madagascar, there is an urgent need for improved cultivars. The importation and evaluation of cultivars is therefore a high priority. A project was initiated in five different climatic areas representative of the major litchi production areas in South Africa. Locally available cultivars, recently imported cultivars and promising selections
from the breeding programme are being evaluated in this trial. 

Most of the cultivars and HLH Mauritius selections have produced their first or second harvest at the different localities. Cultivars that are promising at this stage are Fay Zee Siu, an early maturing, large fruited cultivar with a high percentage of aborted seed and Wai Chee, a late maturing cultivar. Kaimana produced the first fruit which was of excellent internal quality and with a high percentage of aborted seed. HLH Mauritius and the HLH Mauritius selections had similar internal fruit quality, but HLH Mauritius was out yielded by a few selections.

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