Using a single fruit tree he bought from China, an Australian farmer successfully developed Australia’s first seedless lychee.
Tibby Dixon has been developing multiple lychee varieties through selective breeding and cross-pollination in his 40 years as a lychee farmer.
The process involves collecting pollen from the male part of the lychee flower and then transferring to the female part of the flower.
In developing his seedless variety, Dixon reportedly spent 19 years working on the $5,000 imported tree.
In an interview with ABC
, Dixon described the seedless lychee as “very flavorsome”
and tasted “a bit like pineapple.”
According to the North Queensland farmer, the process of creating new varieties of lychee has been “a long, hard slog.”
He was able to create the seedless lychee by cross-pollinating the imported tree to get a smaller seed in every iteration. He repeated the process until eventually, he ended up with a seedless fruit.
Following his success, Dixon now aims to grow a crop of seedless lychee trees on Australian farms.
“Within a couple of years we should have enough to sell out in commercial numbers,” he was quoted as saying.
“You have to ensure that the material you’re going to sell is highly productive,” Dixon continued.
Lychee, which is native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of southeastern China, is also grown in India, Thailand, Vietnam and the rest of tropical Southeast Asia.
Different cultivars of lychee, including seedless ones, are popular in the varying growing regions.