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Dimocarpus longan - Lour.

Common Name Longan, Lungan, Dragon's Eye, Cat's Eye
Family Sapindaceae
USDA hardiness 8-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Humid mountain woodlands[ 307 ]. Usually found in the understorey of primary forests, sometimes in secondary formations[ 404 ].
Range E. Asia - China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Dimocarpus longan Longan, Lungan, Dragon

Dimocarpus longan Longan, Lungan, Dragon


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Longan, Dimocarpus longan, is a fast-growing, evergreen, well-branched, fruit tree that grows up to 14 m tall with a bole diameter of 1 m. It is native to Southern Asia. Its fruits are highly valued as a food and as a medicine. The fruit has a sweet mucilaginous flesh. It can be eaten raw or dried and preserved in syrup, cooked in sweet and sour dishes or in soups. Medicinally, the fruit is a stomachic, febrifuge and vermifuge, and an antidote for poison. Leaves, flowers, and seeds are also used in traditional medicine. Seeds and rind are burnt for fuel. The wood is used for posts, agricultural implements, furniture, construction, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Dimocarpus longan is an evergreen Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 12 m (39ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Euphoria longan (Lour.) Steud. Euphoria longana Lam. Nephelium longana Cambess. Nephelium long-yan B

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked. The mucilaginous flesh is whitish, translucent and somewhat sweet, though not as flavoursome as the related lychee(Litchi chinensis)[ 301 , 303 ]. It is delicious eaten raw and can also be dried, preserved in syrup, cooked in sweet and sour dishes or in soups[ 301 ]. The globose fruits are 12 - 25mm in diameter, with a thin, brittle, yellow-brown to light reddish-brown rind[ 303 ]. Longans are much eaten fresh, out-of-hand, but some have maintained that the fruit is improved by cooking[ 303 ]. In China, the majority are canned in syrup or dried. For drying, the fruits are first heated to shrink the flesh and facilitate peeling of the rind. Then the seeds are removed and the flesh dried over a slow fire[ 303 ]. The dried product is black, leathery and smoky in flavour and is mainly used to prepare an infusion drunk for refreshment[ 303 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antihydrotic  Febrifuge  Hypnotic  Stomachic  Styptic  Tonic  Vermifuge

The flesh of the fruit is administered as a stomachic, febrifuge and vermifuge, and is regarded as an antidote for poison. A decoction of the dried flesh is taken as a tonic and treatment for insomnia and neurasthenic neurosis[ 303 ]. In both North and South Vietnam, the 'eye' of the longan seed is pressed against a snakebite in the belief that it will absorb the venom[ 303 ]. Leaves and flowers are sold in Chinese herb markets but are not a part of ancient traditional medicine. The leaves contain quercetin and quercitrin[ 303 ]. The seeds are administered to counteract heavy sweating and the pulverized kernel, which contains saponin, tannin and fat, serves as a styptic[ 303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fuel  Furniture  Hair  Pipes  Soap  Wood

Small shade tree, Backyard tree, Small flowering tree, Specimen. Other Uses: The seeds, because of their saponin content, are used like soapberries (Sapindus saponaria L.) for shampooing the hair[ 303 ]. The seeds and the rind are burnt for fuel[ 303 ]. The heartwood is reddish brown it is not clearly demarcated from the lighter-coloured sapwood. The wood is strong, tough, very hard, difficult to split, highly durable, easily but slowly drying with little or no degradation. It is used for posts, agricultural implements, furniture, construction, shuttle pipes, bearings, textile weaving stands and rifle butts[ 303 , 404 , 451 ]. The wood is not highly valued for fuel[ 303 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Whilst the longan succeeds in warm temperate to tropical areas, it requires a distinct cool season of up to 3 months with virtually no frost to initiate blooming[ 303 ] and so does not fruit well at low elevations in the tropics[ 335 ]. Flowering is poor after a warm winter and in areas with no clear cool season[ 303 ]. It needs chilling temperatures of about 7 - 12°c, or a 2 - 3 month period with temperatures about 15 - 22°c and a short dry period in order to stimulate flowering[ 303 ]. From fruit set onwards high temperatures do not hamper development, but nights should not be warmer than 20 - 25°c[ 303 ]. The temperature range for growth is reported to be 7 - 36°c with the optimum between 18 - 30°c[ 303 ]. Ample soil moisture is needed from fruit set until maturity; suitable annual precipitation is about 1,500 - 2,000mm[ 303 ]. The annual rainfall range for growth is reported to be 800 - 3,000mm[ 303 ]. Prefers some shade from the strongest sun[ 200 ]. Succeeds on most fertile soils so long as there is an abundance of moisture[ 200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6, but can tolerate 5 - 8[ 404 ]. Seedling trees take 7 - 10 years to commence bearing fruit, whilst vegetatively propagated trees can fruit in 3 - 5 years[ 335 ]. Full-grown trees given sufficient room may yield 180 - 225 kg of fruit in good years. Larger trees have larger crops but if the trees become too tall harvesting is too difficult, and they should be topped[ 303 ]. A serious problem with the longan is its irregular bearing - often one good year is followed by 1 or 2 poor years[ 303 ]. There are some named varieties[ 200 , 301 ]. Trees are usually self-fertile[ 335 ]. Flowers mid spring.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Most longan trees are grown from seed. After drying in the shade for 4 days, they should be planted without delay, but no more than 2 cm deep, otherwise they may send up more than one sprout[ 303 ]. Germination takes place within 7-10 days[ 303 ]. The seedlings are transplanted to shaded nursery rows the following spring and set in the field 2-3 years later during winter dormancy[ 303 ]. Air layering. Air-layers bear in 2-3 years after planting[ 303 ]. Grafting

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Arillus longan, long yan, long yan rou, longan, longan aril, longan arillus, longanbaum, longanier, longyanrou, longán, mata kucing,Mien, Nhan, Lamyai, Laam-yai, Ihau, Loong narn, Mora, Lam-yai, Longyan, Dragon's eye, Lungan, Mata kuching, Ashphal, Wumb, Puvatti, Rongan, Shempuvan, Kanakindeli, Malakcota, Pasakotta, Shempuna, Poripuna, Mulei, Nagalichi, Naga lichu, Tokra, Diengloba, Kelengkeng, Longana, Olho-de-dragao, Long yean gan, Ryugan, Kath lichu, Mirgoch, Tegonog, Marli, Dieng-loba, Bambo, Buku, Dopar, Ihau, Mahau, Rupai, Takuhis, Theifei-mung, oeil de dragon

Asia, Australia, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, China*, Cook Islands, East Timor, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, PNG, SE Asia, Singapore, South America, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, USA, Vietnam,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Lower Risk/near threatened

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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