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Loquat

The Loquat or Japanese Plum (Eriobotrya japonica) is an easy-to-grow, low maintenance, medium size tree that produces delicious, succulent fruit in the spring.

The Edible Plant Project’s “super” loquat is a cross of various large fruit producing cultivars. It should grow fruits much larger than those typically encountered around Gainesville.

Loquats need picking when ripe and they don’t travel well because they bruise easily – that’s why you haven’t seen them in your local supermarket! They are best eaten straight off the tree or within a day of picking because their taste changes (becoming sourer) once they are picked and stored for even a day. They taste like a combination of peach and apricot and are absolutely delicious in crumbles, pies, jams and jellies, syrups and sauces, chutneys, ice cream and fruit curds. They apparently also make a delicious fruit wine.

Zones: 7-10
Hardy: Cold hardy to 12 degrees once established. New leaves, flowers and fruit are destroyed at 26-28 degrees but the tree usually survives.
Maintenance: Low maintenance (drought tolerant, cold hardy, pest resistant)
Size & Type: 20′-30′ tall (15-20′ wide) subtropical, evergreen tree.
Varieties: Over 800 with a wide range of flavors, size, pulp and skin color.
Those in Florida gardens are mostly unknown cultivars.
Earth: Well drained soil (does not like areas that flood).
Dig in manure or compost when planting and once or twice a year thereafter. Loquats prefer slightly acidic soil: pH 5.5-6.5 and will tolerate calcareous alkaline soils, so add lime for a good distance around the tree when planting.
Sun: Young trees prefer light shade. Full sun once established for the best fruit.
It will grow well in shady areas but won’t produce as many flowers or fruit.
Water: Keep well watered the first year – once established it takes care of itself, although it will need extra water if there’s a drought, especially if there’s a drought when it’s flowering or developing fruit.
Container: Yes. They will need a large pot and lots of watering, feeding and pruning.
Espalier: Yes.
Pruning: Prune just after harvest to stop terminal shoots becoming too numerous. Remove crossing and dead branches and thin dense growth to let light into the center of the tree. Loquats respond well to severe pruning.
Flowers: Fragrant clusters of white flowers in the late fall.
Fruits: Plum like fruits (1-4″). Small to medium size seeds. Thin to thick skin. Bears fruit in 3-5 years. Fruits in the spring (January through April). Yield: 35-300 lb per year. The size and quantity of the fruit depends on the variety plus the amount of water, nutrients and sun.
Pollination: Considered self-pollinating although cross pollination by various insects (bees, syrphids and flies) is said to improve fruit set and size.
Leaves: Large (10 inches long), dark green on top, light green & fuzzy underneath.
Misc: Leaves drop all year round so plant over a bed where fallen leaves and fruits can be left to mulch naturally.
Pests: Black scale or fruit flies may be a problem. Birds can peck at fruit.
Toxicity: The seeds are slightly poisonous and contain hydrogen cyanide.
Uses: Cultivated throughout Asia for thousands of years for their fruits.
They grow easily into a great shade tree for a garden, patio or terrace.
Medicinal: The loquat is one of the most popular cough remedies in the Far East and is an ingredient of many patent cough medicines. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Edible: www.edibleplantproject.blogspot.com for recipes!
Wildlife: Attractive to bees and butterflies (the flowers) and birds (the fruit)
superloquat2 loquat2 lyndallnloquat

More photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/search?sort=relevance&text=Eriobotrya%20japonica

Sources

www.floridata.com

www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/loquat
html://

www.middlepath.com.au/plant/loquat.php

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Eriobotrya+japonica

pdf – Loquat

Information Sheet
(to print out)


2 comments to Loquat

  • Sarah Jumel

    How can one get seeds of the super loquat and seed potato of the purple sweet potato? I’d like some. Thanks.

  • Wendy Bordenave

    I am interested in buying some seeds or a seedling of the super loquat. I am having a difficult time finding them anywhere. Thanks.

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