The longan is a tropical tree native to southern China. Its name means "dragon eye". It is also found in Southeast Asia where it is called guiyuan in Chinese, lengkeng in Indonesia, mata kucing (literally "cat's eye") in Malaysia, nhan in Vietnamese, and Mora in Sinhalese.

Longan trees can grow up to 12 metres in height. They require sandy soil and temperatures that do not typically go below 4.5 degrees Celsius. Longans and lychees bear fruit at around the same time of the year. The longan ("dragon eyes") is so named because of the fruit's resemblance to an eyeball when it is shelled (the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like a pupil/iris). The seed is small, round and hard. The fruit is edible, and is often used in East Asian soups, snacks, desserts, and sweet-and-sour foods, either fresh or dried, sometimes canned with syrup in supermarkets. The seeds of fresh longan can be boiled and eaten, with a distinctive nutty flavor. Dried longan are often used in Chinese cuisine and Chinese sweet dessert soups. In Chinese food therapy and herbal medicine, it is believed to have an effect on relaxation. In contrast with the fresh fruit, which is juicy and white, the flesh of dried longans is dark brown to almost black. In Chinese medicine the longan, much like the lychee, is considered a "warm" fruit.

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authorshipSurukuku (Nelson Ramos-Lopes)
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photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dimocarpus_longan_fruits.jpg
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Longan treeLongan tree
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Longan_tree_at_Pine_Island_Nursery.jpg
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