Species Guide: Common Fruit Trees


The green, unripe fruits of rambutan tree. Photo by Goh Shang Ming

Common name: Hairy Lychee

Malay name: Rambutan

Scientific name: Nephelium lappaceum L.

Conservation status: Cultivated, Native to Malaysia


A tree that grows 10-25 m tall. Leaves are glossy and divided. It bears small, yellowish-green to white flowers with mildly sweet scent. Fruits are oval to spherical, covered with hairy spines, turn from green to red when ripe.

A cluster of fruit buds at the end of a tree branch
A low-branching rambutan tree. Photo by Goh Shang Ming

Habit: Perennial tree

Cultivation: It is planted by seeds, grafting or air-layering

Ecological function: The flowers of this tree attract pollinators. It is a caterpillar food plant. Its fruits are eaten by birds and bats.

Pollinator: Insects

Soil: Loamy soils

Moisture: Well-drained, fertile soils 

Shade: No shade

Use: Fruits are eaten raw, stewed or canned.

By ShangMing

A plant lover. I like small, medium, gigantic, ordinary, exotic, local, foreign plants. Just because they thrive to stand out.