The Dimocarpus longan tree and lychees bear fruit at around the same time of the year.
The fruit is sweet, juicy and succulent in superior agricultural varieties, and apart from being eaten fresh, is also often used in East Asian soups, snacks, desserts, and sweet-and-sour foods, either fresh or dried, sometimes canned with syrup in supermarkets. The taste is quite different from lychees; while longan have a drier sweetness, lychees are often messily juicy with a more tropical, sour sweetness.
The seed can be eaten as well as the shell.
Dried longan, called guìyuán (u6842u5706) in Chinese, are often used in Chinese cuisine and Chinese sweet dessert soups. In Chinese food therapy and herbal medicine, it is believed to have an effect on relaxation. In contrast with the fresh fruit, which is juicy and white, the flesh of dried longans is dark brown to almost black. In Chinese medicine the longan, much like the lychees.