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E Introduced Photo: Preetha P.S.
Common name: Rambutan
Botanical name: Nephelium lappaceum    Family: Sapindaceae (Soapberry family)
Synonyms: Scytalia ramboutan

Rambutan is an evergreen tree growing up to a height of 15-24 m. Leaves are alternate, 14-30 cm long, pinnate, with 3-11 leaflets, each leaflet 5-15 cm wide and 3-10 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are small, 2.5-5 mm, without petals, discoidal and borne in erect branch-end panicles 15-30 cm wide. Rambutan trees can be male, female or producing mostly female and a small percentage of male flowers. The fruit is a round to oval single-seeded drupe, 3-6 cm long and 3-4 cm broad, borne in a loose pendant cluster of 10-20 together. The leathery skin is reddish. The spines contribute to the transpiration of the fruit, which can affect the fruit's quality. The fruit flesh, is translucent, whitish or very pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor reminiscent of grapes. The single seed is glossy brown, 1-1.3 cm. Rambutan is native to Thailand to W. Malesia, cultivated elsewhere.

Identification credit: Preetha P.S. Photographed in cultivation in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

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