|Loquat, Japanese plum - Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl.|
Opened fruit ripened, note five seeds in the fruit
Débourage d'un bourgeon de bibacier ou néflier du Japon (Eriobotyra Japonica)
Hymenoptera on blooming Eriobotrya japonica in Jerusalem
Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat, pipa, Japanese plum). Fruit at Olinda, Maui, Hawaii.
Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat, pipa, Japanese plum) Fruit at Shibuya Farm Kula, Maui, Hawaii
Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl., dried loquat seeds
Natural shape of a mature tree
Trunk and bark, Starbucks Boynton Beach, Florida
The fruit once peeled. There are 2-4 large seed pods in the center, and the flesh is quite grainy.
Chamaeleo chamaeleon sitting on a blossoming Eriobotrya japonica
My own 'Champagne' loquats
Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl.
Japanese plum, Japanese medlar, nispero japones (Spanish), ameixa do Japao (Portuguese), luju (Chinese), lokwat (Maylay and Indonesian) 2
Crataegus bibas, Mespilus japonicus, and Photinia japonica 2
Apple, pear, peach, nectarine
Native to southeastern and central China
USDA hardiness zones
8A through 11
Hedge; trained as a standard; urban tolerant; street without sidewalk; deck or patio; screen; fruit; specimen; espalier; container or planter; highway median 1
20-30 ft (6-9 m)
30-35 ft (9-10.6 m)
Round; symmetrical; dense; coarse texture 1
Neat habit and compact growth
Loquat may live only 20 to 30-years so it should not be considered a permanent fixture in the landscape
Branches droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns 1
Required for strong structure
Evergreen; alternate; simple; pectinate, serrate; oblong, elliptic (oval); pinnate; 8-12 in. (20-30.4 cm) long 1
White/cream/gray; showy; very fragrant; Oct. to Feb.; summer blooms produce no fruit
Round, oval; 1-3 in. (2.5-7.6 cm); fleshy; yellow, orange; attacts birds; showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem 1
February to May depending on cultivar
USDA Nutrient Content pdf
Full sun, partial sun or partial shade 1
Clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; well-drained 1
Moderate; not tolerant of flooded soil conditions
Aerosol salt tolerance
Moderate; it performs well along the coast with some protection from salty air 1
Very cold tolerant; may withstand 8-10°F (-13-12 °C); flowers/fruit are killed below 27°F
(-2.8 °C) 2
25-30 ft (7.6-9 m) away from structures, electrical lines, and other trees for best production 2
Not a problem; shallow root system
Invasive potential *
Should be treated with caution in the central and south zone in Florida, may be recommended but managed to prevent escape. It is not considered a problem species and may be recommended in the north zone in Florida 1
Sensitive to pests/diseases
Seeds are said to contain toxins and the leaves traces of arsenic 3
Loquat from the Twelve Fruits With Potential Value-Added and Culinary Uses Project from the University of Hawaii
Growing Loquat in the Florida Home Landscape from the University of Florida pdf 7 pages
Loquat by Julia Morton from Fruits of Warm Climates
Growing Loquats from Just Fruits and Exotics
The loquat is indigenous to southeastern China and possibly southern Japan, though it may have been introduced into Japan in very early times. It is said to have been cultivated in Japan for over 1, 000 years. The western world first learned of it from the botanist Kaempfer in 1690. Thunberg, who saw it in Japan in 1712, provided a more elaborate description. It was planted in the National Gardens, Paris, in 1784 and plants were taken from Canton, China, to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England, in 1787. Soon, the tree was grown on the Riviera and in Malta and French North Africa (Algeria) and the Near East and fruits were appearing on local markets. In 1818, excellent fruits were being produced in hothouses in England. The tree can be grown outdoors in the warmest locations of southern England. 5
A tree of moderate size, the loquat may reach 20 to 30 ft (6-9 m), has a rounded crown, short trunk, and woolly new twigs. 5
Leaves mostly in terminal whorls are elliptical-lanceolate to obovate-lanceolate, 12 to 30 cm long and 3 to 10 cm wide. They are dark green and glossy on the upper surface, whitish to rusty-tomentose on the lower surface. 2
Fig. 9. Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat, pipa, Japanese plum). Leaf showing veins at Olinda Rd, Maui, Hawaii
Fig.11. Immature fruit and underside of leaf, Makawao, Maui
Fig. 12. New growth
Flowers are borne on 10 to 20 cm long terminal panicles of 30 to 100 or more flowers. Individual flowers are 1.25 to 2 cm in diameter, have 5 white petals, about 20 stamens, and an inferior ovary. The environmental factor or factors responsible for flower induction are not known, although a cessation of growth prior to the fall/winter flowering is essential. 2
Fig. 15. Eriobotrya japonica (flowers emerging). Location: Maui, Cafe 808 Kula
Fruit are pomes, held in clusters of 4 to 30, oval to rounded to pear-shaped, 2 to 5 cm long and weigh an average of 30 to 40 g; some cultivars up to 70 g. The peel is smooth to slightly downy, light yellow to orange. The pulp is white to light yellow to orange, 6.7 to 17° Brix, sweet to sub acid, and juicy. There may be 1 to 10 dark brown seeds. 2
Fig. 21. Unos nísperos, en su árbol
Fig. 23. Eriobotrya japonica. When the fruit has ripened. Photo taken in my backyard at Irvine, California
Although Loquat can easily be grown from seed, many cultivars are available for consistent fruit quality. `Champagne' (March-May), best for USDA hardiness zone 9, has yellow-skinned, white-fleshed, juicy, tart fruit, one of the better fruits. `Gold Nugget' (May-June), best near coast, has larger, sweeter fruit with orange skin and flesh. `MacBeth' (April-May) has exceptionally large fruit with yellow skin and creamy flesh. `Thales' is a late yellow-fleshed variety. `Coppertone', a hybrid, has dense growth with copper-colored new foliage and pale pink flowers. `Variegata' has white variegated leaves. 1
Harvesting is by hand. Cut clusters of fruit from terminal branches and then clip individual fruit from the cluster. Ripe loquat fruit may be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator for several weeks. 2
Loquat is a fruit tree that blooms in the fall and early winter and is harvested during the spring. Mature loquat trees may yield from 35 to 300 lbs per year depending upon tree size and care. 2
Loquat trees are pollinated by various insects including bees (Apis sp.), syrphids, houseflies, Myrmeleontidae, Bombinae, and Pieris rapae (L.). Althoughthey are considered self-compatible, cross pollination improves fruit set and size. 1
Fig. 18. Vanessa atalanta na mušmuli u Dramlju, Hrvatska
Loquat trees may be propagated by seed, but they do not come true from seed and they have a 6-to 8 -year juvenile period before flowering and fruiting. 2
Loquat may be cleft, veneer, and whip grafted or chip, patch, or shield budded. Propagation by cuttings and marcottage is also possible but more difficult. Vegetatively propagated trees generally begin bearing 1 to 2 years after planting. Mature planted trees may be stumped and top-worked to desirable cultivars. Loquat trees may be propagated by tissue culture (somatic embryos), microcuttings, and by micropropagation using terminal or axillary shoots; however, these methods are not common in the U.S. 2
Providing best fruit and form when grown in full sun, Loquat can tolerate partial shade and a variety of well-drained soils. It grows well on soils with a high pH and maintains the characteristic dark green foliage. Clay soil is acceptable as long as there is sufficient slope to allow surface water to run away from the root system. It often looks best in the southern portion of its range when given some shade in the afternoon, especially if it is not irrigated. 1
Branches will have to be pruned to grow up, as they tend to droop with time under the weight of the developing branch. It espaliers well against a sunny wall, and makes a good screen due to its dense canopy. Sprouts along the trunk can be a maintenance nuisance. 1
During the first 1 to 2 years after planting, prune young trees by tipping shoots in excess of 2 to 3 ft, tipping will increase branching. Trees may be trained to a modified cental leader or open center configuration. Mature trees may be selectively pruned to maintain trees at 6 to 12 ft in height. This will make care of the tree and harvest easier. 2
The best time for pruning is right after harvest.
To improve fruit size, you may wish to hand-thin flowers or fruit. Allow anywhere from 4 to 10 fruits to develop per terminal. Thinning will increase fruit size from 25% - 100%. In areas with insects and or bird fruit pests, bag the fruit clusters. Bagging also hastens fruit development and reduces fruit scaring. 2
Caution: Do not overfertilize since this could increase sensitivity to fire blight disease. 1
A month after planting, spread 1/4 lb (113 g) per tree of a young-tree fertilizer, such as 6-6-6 (6 % nitrogen 6% phosphate 6%potassium) with minor elements. Twenty to 30% of the nitrogen should come from organic sources (Table 3). Repeat this every 8 weeks for the first year. Then, gradually increase the amount of fertilizer to 0.5, 0.75, 1.0 lb etc., (227 g, 341 g, 454 g, etc.) as the trees grow. Four to 6 dry fertilizer applications per year may be made up to the third year. 2
A foliar fertilizer mix composed of magnesium and minor nutrients (manganese, zinc, boron, and molybdenum) may be applied 2 to 3 times per tree per year any time from April to November. In acid to neutral soils, apply iron sulfate at 0.25 to 1 oz per tree to the soil 2 to 3 times per year. In alkaline soils with a high pH, drench the soil with iron chelate 2 to 3 times per year from June through September. To make a soil drench, mix 0.5 to 0.75 oz (14-21 g) of iron chelate with 4 to 5 gallons (14-19 liters) of water and pour onto the soil next to the tree trunk. 2
For mature trees, fertilize trees 2 to 3 times per year. The fertilizer should be applied just before or at bloom, perhaps during late fall, again in March, and once during the summer. The fertilizer mix should also include phosphate (P2O5) and potash (K2O); use a 6-6-6, 8-3-9 or similar material. 2
Newly planted loquat trees should be watered at planting and every other day for the first week or so and then 1 to 2 times a week for the first couple of months. For the first 3 years,water once a week during prolonged dry periods (e.g., 5 or more days of little to no rainfall). Once the rainy season arrives, reduce or stopped watering. 2
Once loquat trees are 4 or more years old, water them during the fruit development period and during prolonged dry periods. Over watering may cause trees to decline or be unthrifty. 2
Scales and caterpillars are occasional problems.
To reduce fireblight problems, provide good air circulation and keep away from other fireblight hosts, such as Pyracantha, pears, etc. If leaves and stems blacken from the top downward, prune back one-foot or more into healthy wood. Sterilize shears with a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water between cuts. 1
Loquat may be eaten fresh without the peel, combined with other fruits in fruit salads, used as a pie filling, and made into sauces and gelatin desserts, jams, and jellies. Fruit may also be canned, dried, frozen, and made into syrup. 2
Loquat is a good source of vitamin A; just a few fruits can provide up to half the recommended daily allowance. Vitamin A is important to visual and dental health. 4
Fig. 32. "And then we make sorbet: 3 cups puréed fruit + one-half to one cup sugar (to taste) + juice of half a lemon + a pinch of cinnamon, a little ground cloves, some ginger and nutmeg. Mix well, put in a tupperware in the freezer, shake-shake-shake every hour or so to break up the crystals. The perfect Christmas-in-Summer dessert!" Frédérique, flickr.com
Other recipes can be found on Greene Deane's page and on the 12 Fruit Project from the University of Hawaii (see in the Reading Section).
Loquats can also be used to make light wine. It is fermented into a fruit wine, sometimes using just the crystal sugar and white liquor.
In Italy nespolino liqueur is made from the seeds, reminiscent of nocino and amaretto, both prepared from nuts and apricot kernels. Both the loquat seeds and the apricot kernels contain cyanogenic glycosides, but the drinks are prepared from varieties that contain only small quantities (such as Mogi and Tanaka), so there is no risk of cyanide poisoning. 6
Medicinal Uses **
For thousands of years, the Chinese used extract from loquat leaves as an important ingredient for lung ailments. 4
Its neat habit and compact growth make loquat an ideal specimen or patio shade tree, and it can be used as a residential street tree or median strip tree in areas where overhead space is limited. 1
Loquat is among the first fruits cultivated in Asia and is steeped in ancient Chinese mythology. For centuries only the Chinese royalty was allowed to eat the fruit, as it was thought that loquat fruit falling into the rivers gave the koi, or carp, the strength and desire to swim against current and up waterfalls and be turned into mythical dragons. The fruit was introduced from China to Japan as early as 700 AD. In 914 the first Chinese medical textbook was translated to Japanese and mentioned how to use loquat to obtain clear lungs. Japanese law books in the early 900s stated the proper way to present loquat as an offering to the Shinto gods. In Hawai‘i, loquat is sometimes called pipa (Chinese) or biwa (Japanese). 4
In Spanish the fruits are referred to as nísperos (or, in southern areas of Mexico, mísperos) and are associated with the Day of the Dead in Mexico, when they are commonly placed on altars as offerings to the spirits of the deceased. 6
Eriobotrya japonica 'Variegata': 'Variegata' Loquat from the University of Florida pdf
Eriobotrya japonica 'Coppertone': 'Coppertone' Loquat from the University of Florida pdf
Loquat from the Florida Gulf Coast University Plant Database pdf
Luscious Loquats by Gene McAvoy from University of Florida Hendry County Extension
Eriobotrya japonica: Loquat from the University of Florida pdf
Loquat by J. Tous and L. Ferguson in Mediterranean Fruits
Loquat from University of Florida Nassau County Extension pdf
Loquat from the California Rare Fruit Growers Inc.
Loquat by Wilson Popenoe in Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits
Loquat: A Subtropical Relative of the Apple, Pear, and Peach from Charlotte County Extension pdf
Florida Food Fare: Loquats from the University of Florida pdf
Loquat: Getting a Grip on Grappa by Greene Deane of eattheweeds.com
Loquat Botanical Art
List of Growers and Vendors
1 Guilman, Edward F. and Watson, Dennis G. "Eriobotrya japonica: Loquat." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is ENH394, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date Nov. 1993. Revised Nov. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
2 Crane, Jonathan H. and Caldeira M. Lilia. "Loquat Growing in the Florida Home Landscape". edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Document HS5, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Jan. 1980. Revised Nov. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
3 Boning, Charles R. Florida's Best Fruiting Plants- Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Pineapple Press, Inc. sarasota, Florida. Print.
4 Love, Ken, Bowen, Richard and Fleming, Kent. "Loquat." ctahr.hawaii.edu. Twelve Fruits With Potential Value-Added and Culinary Uses. University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. 2007. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
5 Morton, J. "Loquat, Eriobotrya japonica." hort.purdue.edu. Fruits of Warm Climates, p. 103-108. 1987. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.
6 "Loquat." wikipedia.org. Tropical and Subtropical Fruits: Postharvest Physiology, Processing and Packaging. Editor(s): Muhammad Siddiq. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
Fig. 1 Yongxinge. Eriobotrya japonica. 2005. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 18 2016.
Fig. 2 Oldie. Opened fruit ripened, note five seeds in the fruit. 2005. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 3,4,25 Loquat, Japanese Plum. N.d. Tropical Plant Catalog. toptropicals.com. 24 Jan. 2014.
Fig. 6,8,10,16,27 Ritter, M. and Reimer, J. Japanese Loquat, Eriobotrya japonica. 2012. selectree.calpoly.edu. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 7 Daniel, Jean-Philippe. Débourage d'un bourgeon de bibacier ou néflier du Japon (Eriobotyra Japonica). 2006. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 9 Forest and Kim. Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat, pipa, Japanese plum) Leaf showing veins at Olinda Rd, Maui, Hawaii. 2008. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 3.0). Web. 18 2016.
Fig. 11 Starr, Forest and Kim. Fruit and underside of leaf, Makawao, Maui. 2006. starrenvironmental.com. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
Fig. 5,12 MR. Loquat, Japanese Plum. N.d. Tropical Plant Catalog. toptropicals.com. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 13 Carr, Gerald, D. Eriobotrya japonica . N.d. botany.hawaii.edu. University of Hawaii, Botany Department, Manoa Campus Plants. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
Fig. 14 Amarochan, Mohamed. Eriobotrya japonica flower. 2008. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 15 Eriobotrya japonica (flowers emerging). Location: Maui, Cafe 808 Kula. 2006. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY 3.0). Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 17 Haklai, Yair. Hymenoptera on blooming Eriobotrya japonica in Jerusalem. 2013. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 18 Mar. 2016.
Fig. 18 F. Roberta. Vanessa atalanta na mušmuli u Dramlju, Hrvatska." 2008. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 19 Starr, Forest and Kim. Eriobotrya japonica (fruit). Location: Maui, Olinda. 2006. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY 3.0). Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 20 Starr, Forest and Kim. Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat, pipa, Japanese plum) Fruit at Shibuya Farm Kula, Maui, Hawaii. 2011. flickr.com.. Under (CC BY 3.0). Web. 18 Mar. 2016.
Fig. 21 Williamson, Keith. Unos nísperos, en su árbol. 2011. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY 2.0) From Bigastro, Spain. Ripe for picking Project 365(3) Day 105. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
Fig. 22 Tiffany. Loquats from our one loquat tree. flickr.com.. Under (CC BY-NC 2.0). Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
Fig. 23 Oldie~commonswiki. Eriobotrya japonica. When the fruit has ripened. Photo taken in my backyard at Irvine, California. 2005. flickr.com. Under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.
Fig. 24 Hurst, Steve. Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl., loquat. N.d. plants.usda.gov. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 26 JoannBango. Nesprer del Japó (Eriobotrya japonica), jardí botànic de València. 2014. commons.wikimedia.org. (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Fig. 28 Starr, Forest and Kim. Habit, Olinda, Maui. 2006. starrenvironmental.com. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
Fig. 29 Udaff, Krolik. Loquat, Japanese Plum. N.d. Tropical Plant Catalog. toptropicals.com. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 30 Starr, Forest and Kim. Trunk and bark, Starbucks Boynton Beach, Florida. 2009. starrenvironmental.com. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
Fig. 31 Frédérique. The fruit once peeled. There are 2-4 large seed pods in the center, and the flesh is quite grainy. The taste is good but a bit odd. 2007. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC 2.0). Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
Fig. 32 Frédérique. Recipe. 2007. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC 2.0). Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
Fig. 33 יעקב. Chamaeleo chamaeleon sitting on a blossoming Eriobotrya japonica. 2012. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0) Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 34,35 Kerbouche, Reda. Casbah d'Alger. 2012. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 36 Robitaille, Liette. "My own crop of 'Champagne' loquats." 2014. growables.org. File JPG.
Fig. 37 "Distribution Map." N.d. florida.plantatlas.usf.edu. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
* UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.
Published 24 Jan. 2014 LR. Last update 23 Mar. 2017 LR