Eriobotrya japonica
Common Name: loquat
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: China, Japan
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 10.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: November to December
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 where it is best grown in fertile, evenly moist, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Best with consistent moisture, but established plants will tolerate some drought. Plants may survive temperatures to as low as 10-15 degrees F., but flowers and fruits will normally perish if temperatures dip below 28 degrees F. In St. Louis, plants may be grown in containers as houseplants. Containers may be taken outside in summer. Indoors, containers are best sited in sunny windows with moderate temperatures of 50-70 degrees F. Reduce watering in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eriobotrya japonica, commonly called loquat, Japanese medlar or Japanese plum, is a small, short-trunked, upward-branching, broadleaf evergreen tree that typically grows to 10-25' tall with a round form. It also often grows as a large spreading shrub. It is generally noted for its compact size, attractive foliage, fragrant flowers and edible fruit. Loquat is native to China and perhaps Japan. Wrinkled, strongly-veined, leathery, elliptic-lanceolate leaves (to 12" long) with toothed margins are dark green above and light green covered with rusty down beneath. Sweetly fragrant, five-petaled, white flowers in large panicles (to 6" long) bloom in late fall-early winter. Flowers are followed by small spherical to pear-shaped fruits (to 1-2" long), each with juicy flesh and one to several large seeds. Fruits typically ripen in spring (February in Florida and April in California). Fruits have smooth to downy, yellow to orange skin. Fruits are excellent when eaten fresh off the tree or in salads, sauces, jellies/jams or tarts/pies. Many different fruiting cultivars exist in commerce.

Genus name comes from the Greek words erion meaning wool and botrys meaning a cluster of grapes for the woolly, clustered panicles.

Specific epithet means of Japan.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. This rose family member is susceptible to fire blight. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, fruit flies and caterpillars. Potential disease pests include rots, cankers, scab, leaf spot and blight. Seeds and young plant leaves are mildly poisonous if ingested. In areas where fruit set occurs, fruit drop can cause troublesome litter problems.

Garden Uses

In frost free areas, plants are grown commercially for fruit production or as landscape ornamentals near decks or patios. Good street tree in areas where fruit does not set. Effective houseplants in colder climates.