Lychee (Litchi chinensis)

Lychee (Litchi chinensis)

The soapberry family.

This family yields a number of fruit-bearing trees that are more common in tropical climates, such as lychee (Litchi chinensis), rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), and longan (Dimocarpus longan).

The two primary genera that are of interest to woodworkers in North America are Acer and Aesculus—yielding maple and buckeye wood, respectively. The connection between these mostly temperate genera and those of the aforementioned tropical genera may seem unusual, and indeed both Acer and Aesculus were formerly both placed in their own families—Aceraceae and Hippocastanaceae, respectively. But more recent DNA testing has shown their connection and resulting in their being transferred to Sapindaceae.