Other Names: Nispero, Japanese Medlar, Japanese Plum
Related To: [Rosaceae] Apples, Peaches, Pears
Main Uses: Fruit, landscaping specimen.
Growth Rate: Moderate.
Mature Height/Spread: Can reach tt in height and up to 20 feet in
Flowering/Pollination: Small and yellow, fragrant, occurring in
autumn. Self-pollinating. Loquat flowers occur during winter, so
areas with frosty winters may have trouble with fruiting as the
flowers freeze off easily.
Tolerance: Larger trees can tolerate drought. During extreme
drought the foliage will dry out. Does not tolerate salt.
Soil/Nutrition: Widely tolerant, but particularly appreciates
rich, moist sandy soils. Mulch. Fertilize sparingly in the spring,
as it will become more susceptible to fireblight.
Light: Full sun.
Wind: Loquats are sturdy trees grown from seed. Grafted trees can
Temperature: Defoliates in the low 20's. Stems start to die back
around 15 degrees, but roots can recover from temperatures below
zero. Needs subtropical to tropical warmth to successfully flower
and fruit. Is sometimes used as an ornamental in subtropical
climates, where it may occasionally fruit during a mild winter.
Diseases Prone: Fireblight. Prune back at least one foot from
infection if spots occur. Mealybugs can also be a problem.
Bearing Age: 5-8 years from seed.
Fruit: Yellow, round, some varieties white-fleshed. Highly valued
in Japan and China as a fresh fruit. Taste of a ripe fruit is honey
sweet, fruity, with hints of berries and floral overtones.
History/Origin: Loquat is native to China and Japan, where there
are many hundreds of cultivars. The fruit has spread around the
world and is now grown in India, Israel, Australia, Egypt, Hawaii
and many other tropical locales. The most commonly grown type in the
US is the widespread large fruit cultivar "Big Jim."
Species Observations: Loquat is a uniquely cold-hardy tropical
species. While it will not fruit in colder climates, it can be grown
an attractive ornamental tree. In Florida, the fruits usually begin
to ripen during late March and early April.
Propogation: Seeds are most commonly used for landscape
specimens. Seeds usually germinate with a little heat, but can
sometimes take up to 2 months. Grafts are used to ensure high
quality fruits and are used for commercial fruit production. Air
layers are possible but difficult. Cuttings are also possible but
Container Culture: Loquats can be grown and fruited in a
container but will eventually need to be planted in the ground.
Medicinal Uses: Leaves are used medicinally to treat diarrhea.
They are also said to help sober a person after having too much
Nutritional Information: Fruits are considerably nutritious,
especially if the skins are eaten.
Preparation / Food: Usually eaten fresh, sometimes chilled, and
many people like to peel the skin. In the US, the fruit can be
difficult to find outside of a can.