Scientific Name: – Nephelium lappaceum
The rambutan (taxonomic name: Nephelium lappaceum) is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae. The fruit produced by the tree is also known as rambutan.
According to popular belief and the origin of its name, rambutan is native to Indonesia and Malaysia. The earliest record of rambutan trees show that they were cultivated by the Malayan jungle tribes around their temporary settlements, a practice followed to date. Rambutan trees grow naturally in Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, although its precise natural distribution is unknown. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the lychee, longan, and mamoncillo. It is native to the Indonesian Archipelago, from where it spread westwards to Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and India; northwards to Vietnam, and the Philippines.
The fruit is a round to oval single seeded berry, 3?6 cm (rarely to 8 cm) tall and 3?4 cm broad, borne in a loose pendant cluster of 10?20 together. The leathery skin is reddish (rarely orange or yellow), and covered with fleshy pliable spines, hence the name rambutan, derived from the Malay word rambut, which means hairs. The fruit flesh, which is actually the aril, is translucent, whitish or very pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor very reminiscent of grapes.