Eriobotrya japonica

Small evergreen tree hardy outside in a sheltered spot to about 15 degrees F. As far north as Seattle on the West Coast and along the Gulf Coast and East Coast up to Virginia Beach. Adapted to container culture as an indoor or greenhouse plant over winter. 1-2" fruits are juicy with a mild, sweet flavor, fragrant flowers, large, long serrated leaves. Fruiting differs from other plants, i.e., over-wintering on the tree and ripening in the spring. Fall flowers fill the outside air with their fragrance. Space 12' circle. Zone 8

Plant Characteristics
Pest Resistance Very Good
Disease Resistance Very Good
Drought Tolerance Very Good
Heat Tolerance Excellent
Humidity Tolerance Excellent
Sun Tolerance Excellent
Wet Soil Tolerance Poor
Shade Tolerance Good
No Spray Excellent
Salt Tolerance Very Good
Fresh for Kids Good
Thorns No
Plant Type Tree
Soil Type Adaptable
Edible Type Fruit
Self Fertile Yes
This information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, comments/opinions are always welcome

Golden Nugget Loquat can not be shipped to; CA, Europe, Canada.

Loquat Care Guide

Loquat (Japanese Medlar; Japanese Plum)
Eriobotrya japonica

A slightly tender evergreen shrub or small tree, growing 10-25' tall originally from central China. Loquat has been cultivated for its fruit in China and Japan from antiquity. Now widely grown in sub-tropical areas. The fruit is eaten fresh for dessert, used for jelly, jam and preserves, and stewed for pies.

Loquat arrived in the Mediterranean area in the nineteenth century, under the name of Japanese Medlar, and is now widely grown in that area. It is evergreen, well-rounded, low-spreading tree and attains a height of 10-25'. Its dark green leathery leaves, about 12" long and grown from the succulent shoots, contrast strikingly with younger, gray-green, soft and downy leaves.

Under ideal conditions a rainfall of 20-45" throughout the year suits it. Abundant moisture without water logging is required. Although a good summer is needed for it to flower in the open, the tree itself can resist frost, and when well hardened by cool weather it may withstand a temperature of 12*F (-11*C), although its young shoots are killed when the temperature is a little below freezing.

The loquat prefers a well drained loam of good depth but will grow quite well on a wide variety of soils - from light sandy loam to a heavy soil. It will not do so well where there is a very marked gravelly sub-soil, an impervious clay soil, or soil containing a very high percentage of lime.

In its northern range a good place for it to be grown is against the sunny back wall of a cold or slightly heated lean-to greenhouse. During the winter it should be watered moderately and then freely from April onwards. During hot weather a daily syringing is beneficial. It can also be grown indoors as an ornamental pot plant but if left to itself it will grow quite fast, as much as 2' in a year. Repotting should be carried out each year and by judicious pruning of the tap root it can be kept to a reasonable size.

The loquat is by nature a compact-growing tree and requires less pruning than the deciduous fruit trees of the temperate zone. This, in fact, is the case with most evergreen fruit trees. Even so, branches must be cut back from time to time, preferably in April, so as to allow light into the center of the tree. In older trees the dead and diseased branches must be cut out.

Flowers are produced intermittently from autumn to spring and are more profuse after a very hot summer. The flowers are yellowish white, fragrant, about 1/2" broad, and they are borne in the terminal woolly panicles which are 4-8" long. They appear on the current season's growth
and are borne in the apex of shoots 3-6 months old, after these have ceased growth. The panicles usually contain 40-60 flowers but under ideal conditions there may be at times, as many as 100. Not all the flowers will set fruit, perhaps only 10 or 12 per panicle.

Thinning of fruit is practiced where fruit of a larger size is required. The thinning may be of individual flowers, or whole flower panicles, or of the fruit itself. Thinning is also practiced to lessen the tendency of trees to produce a large crop of small fruit one year, followed by a very small crop of large fruit the next year. The loquat is inclined to overwork itself; this should be discouraged.

The fruit is borne in loose clusters. The surface of the fruit is somewhat downy and the skin has about the same texture as the plum, with a calyx somewhat like that of the pear. The flesh is a cream color and juicy. The flavor is mild, sub acid and sweet, enriched by an apple like ester. The number of seeds may vary from two to ten but is rarely more than three or four. They are hard, brownish, shining and oblong, about 1/2 to 3/4" long. They separate easily from the fruit.

The fruit should be allowed to ripen on the tree to enable it to obtain its full flavor, sweetness and other qualities. Where the temperature is to high and there is insufficient water, as may happen in a warm greenhouse, the fruit remains small and may not ripen properly. On the other hand where the weather is cool and the days foggy or misty during the ripening period the fruit lacks sweetness and flavor. If the fruit is late in ripening a temperature falling to 25*F (-4*C) will kill the seed and cause the fruit to fall.

At harvesting the fruit clusters should be cut or clipped. The fruit is generally eaten fresh for desert and very refreshing it is. It may also be used for making jelly, jam and preserves or stewed and served as a sauce. Loquat pie made from loquats which have not fully ripened is said to be similar to cherry pie. The seeds should, however, be removed before cooking otherwise they impart a bitter flavor.

Apart from the climatic requirements for fruiting, the loquat is easily cultivated and its sub-tropical appearance makes it a very pleasing small tree to have about the place.

ref; Simmons, & "Growing unusual fruit" publisher Walker & Co. 1972

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