First seedless Lychee fruit produced in Australia after 19 years of work

Queensland grower Tibby Dixon developed the new variety.
Queensland grower Tibby Dixon developed the new variety. Photo credit: Facebook/Camilleri's Farm Market

Decades of work have paid off for a North Queensland lychee grower who has produced the first seedless variety of the fruit in Australia.

Tibby Dixon told the ABC that he had been developing multiple lychee varieties, with the process involving both selective breeding and cross-pollinating flowers by hand over several generations of trees.

"First of all you have to start off with a really good cultivar, and then you get on with it and you keep cross-pollinating it," Dixon told the ABC's Rural Report.

"[Then] hopefully somewhere down the line you can actually get something with a small seed, and from there you cross-pollinate again.

"By chance you might end up with a seedless lychee."

The first batch of the new seedless lychees will be sampled at a local produce outlet.
The first batch of the new seedless lychees will be sampled at a local produce outlet. Photo credit: Facebook/Camilleri's Farm Market

The new variety had been propagated from a single tree imported from China 19 years ago.

The painstaking cross-pollination process involved collecting pollen from the male part of a lychee flower, which was then transferred by hand to the female part of the flower on a different variety.

While the new seedless lychee was still to be planted on a commercial scale, a local produce market in Sarina Beach near Mackay, where Dixon is based, is sampling the few kilograms harvested with customers.

"Within a couple of years we should have enough to sell out in commercial numbers," he told the ABC. 

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