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The Rambutan

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The rambutan (/ræmˈbuːtən/, taxonomic name: Nephelium lappaceum) is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae. The name also refers to the edible fruit produced by this tree. The rambutan is native to the Malay-Indonesian region, and other regions of tropical Southeast Asia. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the lychee, longan, and mamoncillo.

The name "rambutan" is derived from the Malay-Indonesian languages word for rambut or "hair", a reference to the numerous hairy protuberances of the fruit, together with the noun-building suffix -an. In Vietnam, it is called chôm chôm (meaning "messy hair") due to the spines covering the fruit's skin.

The rambutan, as the name suggests, have fleshy pliable spines or 'hairs' on its outer shell which is usually red or yellow in colour. Once the hairy exterior is peeled away, the tender, fleshy, sweet and sour tasting fruit is revealed.

Native to tropical Southeast Asia, rambutan is commonly grown in various countries throughout the region. It has spread from there to parts of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Central America. The widest variety of cultivars, wild and cultivated, are found in Indonesia and Malaysia.

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