top of page

Longans are extraordinarily sweet and tasty and have been a favored fruit in Southeast Asia for centuries. 


The longan is a succulent fruit that is fragrant, extremely juicy, easy to eat, and consistently outranks other varieties in taste tests. The smooth thin leathery brown skin varies from light brown when most fresh, then begins to turn darker brown with age and/or environmental changes. Once the skin has been easily peeled off, the translucent grape-like fruit is exposed. Longans are mostly eaten fresh by themselves and in salads. Refrigerated longans taste very refreshing. 


Longans are well recognized as a premier tropical fruit in Thailand and China. The Chinese nicknamed the longan Dragons Eye because of its white oval eye-like shape where the pit looks similar to an eyes pupil. The botanical name for longans is euphoria langana. Each longan fruit is .75 to 1.5 inches in diameter with only one seed. 


Native to southern China, the longan (also called "lungan" and "longyen"),  was introduced into India in 1798, and into other warm regions of the world thereafter, such as Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Florida and Hawaii of the USA , etc. 


Longans are often grown between elevations of 150-450 m. In China , longan trees are produced mainly in the southern provinces, including Guangdong, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Fujian, Taiwan, etc.


The longan tree (Euphoria longana, syn. Dimocarpus longan) is a member of the unusual and diverse Soapberry Family (Sapindaceae), which are species of evergreen tropical fruit trees that even includes the magnolia. This species was once placed in the genus Nephelium, along with its close cousins the litchi or lychee (N. litchi, syn. Litchi chinensis) and the rambutan (N. lappaceum).


Longan is called "mamoncillo chino" in Cuba , and has been referred to as the "little brother of the Lichi", it is closely allied to the glamorous fruit lichi. Botanically, though, longan is placed in a separate genus. Generally speaking, longan is less important than lichi to the Chinese as an edible fruit, but more widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, particularly its fruit pulp, or the aril. 



The longan tree is handsome, erect, 9-12 m in height and about 14 m in width, with rough-barked trunk about 76 cm thick. It has long, spreading, slightly drooping, heavily foliaged branches. The evergreen, alternate, paripinnate leaves have 4 to 10 opposite leaflets, elliptic, ovate-oblong or lanceolate, blunt-tipped; 10-20 cm long and 3-5 cm wide. 


They are leathery, wavy, glossy-green on the upper surface, minutely hairy and grayish-green beneath. New growth is wine-colored and showy. The pale-yellow, 5- to 6-petalled, hairy-stalked flowers, larger than those of the lichi, are borne in upright terminal panicles, male and female mingled. 



Selection & Storage


Longans should be preferably selected while still brown in color. If possible, wrap the longans in paper towel or thin tissue paper before storing them in recommended humid environment at 34-40F, this will help prevent the longan skin from deteriorating and help maintain the light brown color longer as opposed to turning dark brown.  Place in the crisper of the refrigerator; they may be frozen with its pericarp in a sealed container.  Peeled and seeded, they can be canned or poached in syrup or simply dried.





Display with other tropical fruits such as Starfruit, Mangos, Pummelo, Mangosteen, Cherimoyas, Baby Pineapples, Papaya, Rambutan, and Lychees. 



Types of Longan


'Kohala' - Large size, sweet, good flavor, often has an abortive small seed, most widely planted in California and Florida.

This is the variety sold by!


'Wu Yuan' or 'Blackball' - Small size more acidic, vigorous tree planted in Florida. In China it is preferred as a rootstock if approach grafting is to be used


'Ship'i' - Very large size, less tasty, late season, planted in Florida.


Some varieties originating in southeast Asia have not been as well documented and varietal names have sometimes been lost. Three such Thai varieties that are seteemed in their homeland are 'Baidum', 'Biew Kiew', and 'Chompoo'. 



Growing Longans


Longan thrives best on rich sandy loam or organic sand. They need adequate water, can stand flooding; but not prolonged drought. Longan trees need 20 ft to properly produce full growth in the dooryard; however containerized trees only need 5-6 ft.


They are relatively free of pests and diseases but can show signs of mineral deficiency. Fertilization, including the addition of nitrogen and minor elements, should take place after fruit harvest and during blooming season. 



Nutritional and Health Facts


Longans are rich in glucose. sucrose, coarse fibers, VA, VBª­1, VBª­2, VC, niacin, tartaric acid, protein, fat and many kinds of minerals. Used to beautify the skin and eyes.


In China, this fruit has been known to be eaten by beautiful women. Believed to be a great sex tonic for Women, especially when combined with other herbs such as Ginseng and Codonopsis.


Medical uses of longan include stoma chic, insomnia, and as an antidote for poison. Dried leaves and flowers are sold in Chinese herb markets.  The seeds, because of their saponin content, are used like soapberries (Sapindus saponaria L.) for shampooing the hair. The seeds and the rind are burned for fuel and are part of the payment of the Chinese women who attend to the drying operation. 


Nutritional values per 100 g - Calories: 38; Carbohydrates: 10 g; Fat: 0.0 g; Protein: 1 g; Rich in vitamin C.















































Food Uses


Longans are much eaten fresh, out-of-hand, but some have maintained that the fruit is improved by cooking. In China, the majority are canned in syrup or dried. The canned fruits were regularly shipped from Shanghai to the United States in the past. Today, they are exported from Hong Kong and Taiwan. 


Plain, peeled and seeded, It is used often like the lychee and is excellent for flavouring fruit salad or a savoury salad.


In the imperial city of Hue, Vietnam, lotus flowers cover the lake of tranquil hearts, which surrounds the palace. The Vietnamese usually stuff longans with lotus seeds poached in syrup. You can stuff longans with a mixture of crushed nuts mixed with honey and butter 


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. The dried product is black, leathery and smoky in flavor and is mainly used to prepare an infusion drunk for refreshment. 


Some enjoy them poached in syrup, with rose water (1 spoonful per 300 ml water).


A liqueur can be made by macerating the longan flesh in alcohol. 





Veal Sweetbreads with Longans and Grapes - Reduce 125 ml maple syrup until lightly caramelized; add 1 tbsp. butter and a minced shallot; sauté the sweetbreads (previously blanched) until they begin to colour; deglaze the pan with rice vinegar; place the sweetbreads in the oven for 10 minutes; brown the peeled and seeded longans and grapes in the pan with the cooking liquid; strain and set aside; finish the sauce off with a reduction of veal stock 


Grenadins of Pork with Longans and Roasted Endive - Prepare the marinade: white wine, tamari sauce, honey, shallot, ginger and garlic; as you are cooking the grenadins (small slices of pork fillet), reduce the marinade and poach the longans in it; roast the endive in butter and honey; place the longans on the leaves with the cooking liquid reduced with veal stock 



Medicinal  Uses


The flesh of the fruit is administered as a stoma chic, 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. 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.  The dried flowers are often exported to Malaysia for medicinal purposes. 


"Sweet in flavor, warm in nature," it is related to the heart and spleen channels and tonifies the heart and spleen, nourishes blood and calms the mind.  Often indicated for insomnia and amnesia (forgetfulness) due to deficiency of the heart and spleen and insufficiency of qi and blood.  It is used for deficiency of both the heart and spleen, insufficiency of both qi and blood, anorexia (loss of appetite), fatigue, loose stool, palpitation, insomnia and amnesia:   


There also indications for anemia (the blood is deficient in red blood cells), for dizziness, general weakness, for infirmity and postpartum weakness.


It is often used together with Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae, Sinensis Pilosulae, Rhizoma Atractylodis Mactocephalae, Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Semen Ziziphi Spinosae, etc., to invigorate the spleen, replenish qi, nourish blood and tranquilize the mind, as in Decoction for Invigorating the Spleen. 


Leaves and flowers are sold in Chinese herb markets but are not a part of ancient traditional medicine. The leaves contain quercetin and quercitrin.


The fluid of Arillus Longan (1:2) has a bacteriostastic action on microsporum audouini. 


Longan aril is administered as a stomachic, febrifuge (reduces fever) and vermifuge (destroys or expels parasitic worms), and is used to counteract poison. I


The seeds, because of their saponin content, are used like soapberries (Sapindus saponaria L.) for shampooing the hair. The seeds are administered to counteract heavy sweating and the pulverized kernel, which contains saponin, tannin and fat, serves as a styptic. 


Leaves and flowers are sold in Chinese herb markets but are not a part of ancient traditional medicine. The leaves contain quercetin and quercitrin. 

​Longan Facts

The Kohala longan is a succulent fruit that is fragrant, extremely juicy, easy to eat, and consistently outranks other varieties in taste tests.


All over Asia, the Hawaiian Islands and the Caribbean, Kohala longans are a tradition. Miami growers brought Kohala longans from Hawaii in the early 1950’s as they bear fruit of an excellent quality regularity.


The word "Longan" is derived from the word, "long nhan,", which means "dragon's eye." Longans are golden brown skinned with a translucent fruit on the inside. 

Selection & Storage
Types of Longan
Growing Longans
Nutritional Information
Food Uses
Medicinal Uses
Longan Facts Home
bottom of page