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Farmer Successfully Grows First Ever Seedless Lychees After 20 Years Of Hard Work

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Farmer Successfully Grows First Ever Seedless Lychees After 20 Years Of Hard Work

His latest creation is a seedless variety, which he described as ‘very flavoursome’ and tasting ‘a bit like pineapple’.

Seedless lychees or litchis are no more just ‘wishful thinking’ thanks to a farmer in Australia who has successfully developed the first of its kind. Tibby Dixon, from Sarina Beach in Far North Queensland, has successfully developed the first seedless lychee in Australia, 19 years after spending US$5,000 on a single fruit tree he imported from China.

The seedless variety, which was described as ‘very flavourful’ is Tibby Dixon’s latest creation

The North Queensland farmer has since left the traditional path of growing trees solely for fruit and develops lychee varieties through selective breeding and cross-pollinating flowers over the past few decades. He sells the young plants to other farmers to grow.

His latest creation is a seedless variety, which he described as ‘very flavoursome’ and tasting ‘a bit like pineapple’.

The veteran farmer has grown lychees for more than 40 years; but creating new varieties of lychee has been ‘a long, hard slog’. 

Tibby Dixon has developed multiple lychee varieties through selective breeding and cross-pollinating flowers

Mr. Dixon said he created the seedless lychee by cross-pollinating – collecting pollen from the male part of the lychee flower and transferred to the female part of the flower – the imported tree to get a small seed.

“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,” he said.

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 seedless lychee.”

Mr. Dixon said he developed the seedless lychee variety by cross-pollinating the imported tree to get a small seed

Mr. Dixon’s next task is growing a crop of trees to fruit on Australian farms.

‘Within a couple of years we should have enough to sell out in commercial numbers,’ he said.  

‘You have to ensure that the material you’re going to sell is highly productive.’

Mr. Dixon’s trial varieties are grown until a fruit-bearing age, and then the crop is trialed to ensure consistent productivity.

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