Evaluation of new litchi cultivars in Mauritius - 'Yook Ho Pow' found promising
Litchi production in Mauritius is increasingly contributing to revenue generation to growers, intermediaries and exporters. However, this economic activity is based on a unique commercial cultivar, the 'Tai So', which has an average fruit size of 20 g, a TSS of 18% and pulp to seed ratio of 6.1. With the threat of climatic change and variability on the performance of 'Tai So', it has become essential to evaluate other cultivars, namely, 'Hei Ye', 'Wai Chee', 'Yook Ho Pow', 'Seedless', 'Bengal', 'Brewster' and 'Jensen' to increase variability among the litchi germplasm in the country for the sustainability of the industry both locally and on the export market. Following five years of observation, 'Seedless' has never flowered under prevailing climatic conditions (minimum temperature of 16.4°C and maximum temperature of 29.2°C) in Mauritius. 'Hei Ye' and 'Jensen' bear small fruits of 14 g with pulp to seed ratio of 5.6. But heavy fruit drops occurred during these years for the both cultivars. 'Brewster' and 'Bengal' also require longer chilling hours than 'Tai So' and the fruits have low pulp to seed ratio of 3.7. 'Wai Chee', which bears small and round fruits has high pulp to seed ratio of 7 and a TSS of 19%, is a late bearer and is irregular in flowering. 'Yook Ho Pow' has shown promising traits in terms of regularity of flowering, adaptability to all agro-climatic zones of Mauritius, and fruit characteristics (large fruit size of 20.1 g, a TSS of 22%, high pulp to seed ratio of 15). The main drawback of the cultivar is its poor peel colour when ripe, which can be overcome with consumer sensitivity. The cultivar is therefore being mass produced for establishment of new orchards in all agro-climatic zones of Mauritius with the aim of developing export market of litchi in the country.
Luchoomun, Y.D. and Ramburn, N.D. (2018). Evaluation of new litchi cultivars in Mauritius - 'Yook Ho Pow' found promising. Acta Hortic. 1211, 79-86
climatic change, late bearer, promising traits, pulp to seed ratio