Monday, Jul 1, 2002, 1:18 pm EST
Chinese Lychee Auctioned for $67,000
BEIJING (AP) — How much would you pay for a piece of fresh fruit? If it`s from a tree four centuries old that once fed emperors, try $67,000.
A single rare lychee weighing about half an ounce fetched a record price of about $67,000 at an auction Sunday in Zengcheng, a city in southern China`s Guangdong province, China`s official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.
Here`s why: The lychee, a small fruit with bumpy skin and juicy white flesh, was produced by a rare tree named Xiyuangualu. More than 400 years old, it yields only a few dozen lychees per year, Xinhua said, citing unidentified local sources.
During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), under the emperors Qianlong and Jiaqing, Xiyuangualu lychees served as tributes to the imperial court and were dubbed ``the king of fruit.`
The bank-breaking lychee was bought by a Guangdong firm, Xintang International Jeans Town.
Money from the this year`s auction will be used for education — and for upkeep for the valuable trees, Xinhua said.
Zengcheng`s high rainfall makes it an ideal place for growing such subtropical fruits as lychees and longans. The district has devoted nearly 100,000 acres to lychee cultivation this year, Xinhua said.