Nephelium hypoleucum – The Wild Lychee
Nephelium hypoleucum is a tree in the family Sapindaceae (the soapberry trees), native to Indo-China to Peninsula Malaysia. N. hypoleucum is often referred as korlan based on the Laotian/Thai name. In Vietnamese, it’s called trường.
- Family: Sapindaceae
- Genus: Nephelium
- Species: Nephelium hypoleucum
- English name: korlan
- Vietnamese name: trường
The N. hypoleucum fruit is very similar to a lychee (Litchi chinensis) which also belongs to the family Sapindaceae , so it’s regarded as a wild lychee by local people.
N. hypoleucum is often mistaken for Xerospermum noronhianum, which is also nicknamed as “wild lychee”. And of course, it’s can be confused with various Nephelium trees.
In Vietnam, N. hypoleucum occurs in the wild, especially in mountainous areas in southern Vietnam such as Tây Ninh or An Giang provinces. Unlike lychee or rambutan trees, the korlan trees are not commercially cultivated. Wild korlan fruits are gathered and sold in small quantities.
Korlan fruits are sour, with a little sweet aftertaste. In Vietnam, they can be eaten as is, or with a condiment of salt and chili pepper as a rustic fruit snack. Another condiment is fish sauce with sugar: In a bowl of fish sauce, add sugar to get dissolved, and then add the peeled korlan fruits into the bowl.