From the book
Fruits of Warm Climates
by Julia F. Morton
Pests and Diseases
A fruit of wide appeal, the loquat, Eriobotrya japonica Lindl., (syn.
Mespilus japonicus Thunb.), of the rose family, Rosaceae, has been
called Japan, or Japanese, plum and Japanese medlar. To the Italians,
it is nespola giapponese; to French-speaking people, it is
néflier du Japon, or bibassier. In the German language, it
is japanische mispel, or wollmispel; in Spanish, nispero, nispero
japonés, or nispero del Japón; in Portuguese,
ameixa amarella, or ameixa do Japao.
Plate XI: LOQUAT, Eriobotrya japonica
A tree of moderate size, the loquat may reach 20 to 30 ft (6-9 in), has
a rounded crown, short trunk, and woolly new twigs. The evergreen
leaves, mostly whorled at the branch tips, are elliptical-lanceolate to
obovate lanceolate, 5 to 12 in (12.5-30 cm) long and 3 to 4 in (7.5-10
cm) wide; dark-green and glossy on the upper surface, whitish-or
rusty-hairy beneath, thick, stiff, with conspicuous parallel, oblique
veins, each usually terminating at the margin in a short, prickly
point. Sweetly fragrant flowers, borne in rusty-hairy, terminal
panicles of 30 to 100 blooms, are white, 5-petalled, 1/2 to 3/4 in
(1.25-2 cm) wide. The fruits, in clusters of 4 to 30, are oval, rounded
or pear-shaped, 1 to 2 in (2.5-5 cm) long, with smooth or downy, yellow
to orange, sometimes red-blushed, skin, and white, yellow or orange,
succulent pulp, of sweet to subacid or acid flavor. There may be 1 to
10 seeds, though, ordinarily, only 3 to 5, dark-brown or light-brown,
angular -ellipsoid, about 5/8 in (1.5 cm) long and 5/16 in (8 mm) thick.
Origin and Distribution
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.
Cultivation spread to India and southeast Asia, the medium altitudes of
the East Indies, and Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Chinese
immigrants are assumed to have carried the loquat to Hawaii.
In the New World, it is cultivated from northern South America, Central
America and Mexico to California: also, since 1867, in southern Florida
and northward to the Carolinas, though it does not fruit north of
Jacksonville. It was quite common as a small-fruited ornamental in
California gardens in the late 1870's. The horticulturist, C.P. Taft,
began seedling selection and distributed several superior types before
the turn of the century, but further development was slow. Dwarfing on
quince root-stocks has encouraged expansion of loquat cultivation in
Israel since 1960. In the northern United States and Europe, the tree
is grown in greenhouses as an ornamental, especially var. variegata
with white and pale-green splashes on the leaves.
In India and many other areas, the tree has become naturalized, as it
volunteers readily from seed. Japan is the leading producer of loquats,
the annual crop amounting to 17,000 tons. Brazil has 150,000 loquat
trees in the State of Sao Paulo.
The loquat has been the subject of much horticultural improvement,
increasing the size and quality of the fruit. There are said to be over
800 varieties in the Orient. T. Ikeda catalogued 46 as more or less
important in Japan; over 15 have originated in Algeria through the work
of L. Trabut; C.P. Taft selected and introduced at least 8 into
cultivation in California; 5 or 6 have been selected in Italy; only 1
in Florida. A number of widely planted, named cultivars have been
classed as either "Chinese" or "Japanese". In the Chinese group, the
trees have slender leaves, the fruit is pear-shaped or nearly round
with thick, orange skin and dark-orange flesh, not very juicy, subacid,
but of distinct flavor. The seeds are small and numerous. The
harvesting period is midseason to late and the fruits are of good
In the Japanese group, the tree has broad leaves, the fruit is
pear-shaped or long-oval, the skin is usually pale-yellow, the flesh
whitish, very juicy, acid but otherwise not very distinct in flavor.
The seeds are large and there may be just a few or only one. The
harvesting period is early to midseason. Keeping quality is fair to
In Egypt, most loquats are of Lebanese origin. Egyptian horticulturists
have selected from seedlings of 'Premier' 2 superior clones, 'Golden
Ziad' and 'Maamora Golden Yellow' and have vegetatively propagated them
on quince rootstocks for commercial distribution.
Some of the oldtime selections, 'Advance', 'Champagne', 'Premier',
'Success' and 'Tanaka' are no longer popular in California but are
performing well in other areas. In Florida, 'Oliver' has always been
the most common cultivar, though a number of
others–'Advance', 'Champagne', 'Early Red', 'Pineapple',
'Premier', 'Tanaka' and 'Thales' have been more or less successful.
In the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2 cultivars are raised on a
commercial scale–'Precoce de Itaquera' and 'Mizuho'. In the
southernmost state of the U.S.S.R., Georgia, several loquat cultivars
are grown, including 'Champagne', 'Comune', 'Grossa de Sicilia',
'Premier', 'Tanaka', and 'Thales'.
The following are the cultivars most commonly described:
'Advance' (Japanese group)–A seedling selected by C. P. Taft
in California in 1897. Fruit is borne in large clusters; pear-shaped to
elliptic-round; of medium to large size; skin downy, yellow, thick and
tough; flesh thick, cream-colored, juicy, subacid, of excellent flavor.
Seeds of medium size, may be as many as 4 or 5; average is 3.20 per
fruit. A late cultivar though it ripens earlier than 'Champagne' which
it other-wise closely resembles. Tree is a natural dwarf, to a little
over 5 ft (1.58 m); is highly resistant to pear blight. Self-infertile;
a good pollinator for other cultivars. It is interplanted with 'Golden
Yellow' and 'Pale Yellow' in India.
'Ahdar' (Lebanese; grown in India)–oval, of medium size;
greenish-yellow with white flesh; bears moderately; late-ripening; of
poor keeping quality.
'Ahmar' (Lebanese; grown in India)–pear-shaped, large, with
reddish-orange skin; yellow flesh, firm, juicy; early ripening; of good
keeping quality. A leading cultivar in Lebanon. Very precocious.
'Akko 1' or 'Acco 1' (of Japanese origin)–long-oval to
pear-shaped, 20 to 25 g in weight; skin orange with a little russeting,
thick; flesh yellow, juicy, of average flavor, and there are 3 or 4
seeds. Ripens in midseason, beginning in mid-April in Israel where it
constitutes 10 to 20% of commercial plantings. Precocious and a good
bearer; sets 20 to 30 fruits per cluster and requires drastic thinning,
leaving about 6 fruits. Fruit is subject to sunburn. Stands harvesting
and shipping well, keeps in good condition less than 2 weeks under
refrigeration. This cultivar is self-fertile.
'Akko 13' or 'Acco 13' (of Japanese origin)–pear-shaped, 20
to 25 g in weight; dark-orange, with no russeting; flesh yellow, juicy,
with acid, agreeable flavor; 2 or 3 seeds. Bears from end of March
through April in Israel, regularly and abundantly; constitutes 50 to
70% of commercial plantings in Israel; of good handling and keeping
quality; stands transportation for 2 weeks at 32°F
(0°C). Fruit is subject to sunburn. Needs cross-pollination.
'Asfar' (Lebanese, grown in India)–oval, smaller than
'Ahmar', with yellow skin and flesh, very juicy, of superior flavor,
but very perishable.
'Blush' ('Red Blush') -Resembles 'Advance' but is very large. Was
selected by C.P. Taft as being immune to blight, but was abandoned
after 'Advance' proved to be highly blight-resistant.
'Champagne' (Japanese), often misidentified as 'Early Red'. Selected
and introduced into cultivation in California by C. P. Taft around
1908. Elongated pear-shaped, often oblique; small to large (depending
on where it is grown); skin pale-golden to deep-yellow, thick, tough,
astringent; flesh white or yellow, soft, juicy, mild and subacid to
sweet; of excellent flavor. There are 3 to 5 seeds. Midseason to late.
Prolific; fruits borne in large clusters. Perishable; good for
preserving. Tree has long, narrow, pointed leaves; is self -infertile.
'Early Red' (Japanese); originated by Taft in 1909. Obliquely
pear-shaped; medium-large; skin orange-red with white dots, thick,
tough, acid; flesh orange, very juicy, sweet, of fair to excellent
flavor; has 2 or 3 seeds. Earliest in season, often appearing on
California markets at the end of January or in the beginning of
February. Borne in compact clusters.
'Eulalia' (a seedling of 'Advance' selected by M. Payan in California
in 1905)–pear-shaped to obovate -pear-shaped; skin faintly
downy, orange-yellow with red blush and pale gray dots, thick, tough;
flesh pinkish or orange, melting, soft, very juicy; subacid in flavor.
Seeds medium in size, numerous. Early in season.
'Fire Ball' (popular in India)–ovate to ovate-elliptic;
small, with yellow, thick skin; flesh white to straw-colored, thick,
crisp, smooth, of mild, subacid flavor. Seeds are large: average 2.90
per fruit. Midseason. Tree is a natural dwarf to 9.5 ft (2.84 in).
'Glenorie Superb' (grown in Western Australia)–round, large,
dark-orange with yellow flesh which is juicy and sweet.
Somewhat late in season. Inclined to bruise during harvesting.
'Golden Red' (grown in California)–flesh pale-orange,
medium-thick, smooth, melting, of subacid, agreeable taste; few seeded.
'Golden Yellow' (grown in India)–ovate-elliptic; of medium
size; skin orange-yellow; flesh pale-orange, medium-thick, soft,
smooth, with subacid, mild flavor. Seeds of medium size; average 4.83
'Golden Ziad' (#2-6) (grown in Egypt)–dark-yellow to
light-orange; up to 1 1/2 in (3.96 cm) long; average number of seeds,
2.93-3.83 per fruit. Early. High-Yielding; 50 lbs (23.5 kg) per tree.
'Herd's Mammoth' (grown in Western Australia)–long and
slightly tapering at the stem end; large; yellow to orange with white
to cream-colored flesh. Ripens earlier than 'Victory'. Subject to black
spot; not often planted.
'Improved Golden Yellow' (grown in India)–ovate-elliptic;
skin orange-yellow; flesh orange-yellow, thick, crisp, smooth, with
subacid to sweet, mild flavor. Seeds large; average 3.06 per fruit.
Tree to 15 ft (4.49 in). Early.
'Improved Pale Yellow' (grown in India)–flesh pale-orange or
cream-colored, firm or soft, smooth, of subacid, pleasant flavor, with
medium number of seeds. Midseason.
'Kusunoki' (grown in Japan)–small; early.
'Large Agra' (grown in India)–ovate-round; of medium size;
skin deep-yellow; flesh yellow or pale-orange, medium thick, smooth,
firm, of pleasant flavor, fairly sweet. Seeds small; average 5.10 per
fruit. Midseason. Tree a medium-dwarf–to 9 1/2 ft (2.83 in).
'Large Round' (grown in India)–ovate-round; of medium size;
yellow of skin with cream-colored flesh, firm, coarse, subacid to
sweet, mild. Seeds of medium size; average 4.80 per fruit. Midseason.
Tree fairly tall–13 ft. (3.92 in).
'Maamora Golden Yellow' (#7-9) (grown in Egypt)–dark-yellow
to light-orange; to 1 1/2 in (3.91 cm long); seeds average 2.40 to 4.03
per fruit; late in season. High-yielding–44 lbs (20 kg) per
'Mammoth' (grown in Australia; mentioned in California in
1889)–flesh orange, medium thick, granular, coarse, of
subacid, agreeable flavor. Midseason.
'Matchless' (grown in India) pear shaped; flesh medium-thick,
pale-orange, smooth, soft, of mild, subacid flavor; medium number of
'Mizuho' (grown in Japan)–rounded-oval; extra large (70-120
g); juicy, with agreeable, slightly acid though also sweet flavor, and
with 5 or more seeds. Subject to fruit spots and sunburn.
'Mogi' (grown in Japan)–elliptical, light-yellow; small
(40-50 g); Ripens in early spring. Tree is cold sensitive.
Self-fertile. Constitutes 60% of the Japanese crop of loquats.
'Obusa' (a hybrid of 'Tanaka' and 'Kusonoki', developed and grown in
Japan)–deep yellow, very large (80-100 g); of medium flavor;
good keeping and shipping quality. Ripens earlier than Tanaka. Tree
bears regularly and is resistant to insects and diseases, but fruit is
subject to sunburn (purple stains on skin).
'Oliver' ('Olivier' × 'Tanaka'). In the past was considered
the best loquat for southern Florida.
'Pale Yellow' (grown in India)–oblique -elliptic to round;
light yellow, large; flesh white or cream-colored, thin, smooth,
melting, of subacid to sweet flavor; seeds large; average 4.8 per
fruit. Early. Tree is fairly tall–to 13 ft (4 in).
'Pineapple' (developed and introduced into cultivation in California by
Taft in 1899)–round or sometimes pear-shaped; light-yellow
with white flesh. Of good quality but inferior to 'Champagne'.
Abandoned in California because of the weakness of the tree.
'Precoce de Itaquera' (erroneously called 'Tanaka'; grown in Brazil;
believed to be a local selection of 'Mogi')–oval-pear-shaped;
deep-orange; very small (25.3-29.1 g). Flesh is firm and acid-sweet.
Very productive: 1,500 to 2,000 fruits per tree annually. Subject to
sunburn (purple stains on skin) but less so than 'Mizuho'. Was for a
long time the leading cultivar in the State of Sao Paulo but has lost
ground to 'Mizuho' even though a pear-shaped fruit is preferred by
consumers, because it does not keep or ship as well as the 'Mizuho',
which now makes up 65% of the plantings and 'Precoce de Itaquera' 35%.
'Premier' (originated by Taft in California in 1899)–oval to
oblong-pear-shaped; large; skin downy, orange-yellow to salmon-orange
with large white dots; medium-thick, tough; flesh whitish, melting,
juicy, subacid, of agreeable flavor; seeds average 4 or 5 per fruit.
Late. Good for dooryards. Does not ship well, nor keep well.
'Safeda' (grown in India)–flesh is cream-colored, thick,
smooth and melting, of subacid, excellent flavor; contains medium
number of seeds. Early to midseason.
'Saint Michel' (unclassified; grown in Israel)–round but has
the thin skin and white flesh of the Japanese group. Ripens late.
'Swell's Enormity' (grown in Western Australia)–pear-shaped,
very large; deep apricot-colored externally with flesh of the same
color. Acid if harvested too early. Very late in season. Subject to
sunburn in hot weather.
'Tanaka' (Chinese group; a seedling originated in Japan; young trees
introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1902;
widely grown)–ovoid or round; large (70-80 g) in Japan; in
some other areas small (30 g); skin orange or orange-yellow; flesh
brownish-orange, medium thick, coarse, firm, juicy, sweet or subacid,
of excellent taste. There may be 2 to 4 seeds; average 2.70 per fruit.
Ripens late–beginning the first of May, which is too late for
California because of susceptibility to sunburn. The tree is of medium
size-nearly 10 ft (2.98 m); precocious; bears regularly; is
self-fertile to a degree. Constitutes 10% of commercial crop in Israel;
35% of the crop in Japan. Highly cold-tolerant.
'Thales', also known as 'Gold Nugget' and 'Placentia', (Chinese group;
very similar to 'Tanaka' and possibly a clone. Introduced from Japan
and planted at Placentia, California, between 1880 and
1900)–oblong-obovate to round, large, skin orange-yellow with
numerous white dots, tough; flesh, orange, thick, firm, juicy, of
sweet, apricot-like flavor. There are 2 to 4 seeds. Late in season.
Fruits borne only a few to a cluster; keep and ship well. Self-fertile.
'Thames Pride' (grown in India)–ovate-elliptic, of medium
size or sometimes large; pale-orange or deep-yellow with cream colored
or pale-orange, juicy, coarse, somewhat granular flesh of subacid
flavor; moderately seedy; average 3.20 seeds per fruit. Early in
season. Tree tall, to 13 1/2 ft (4.19 m). Bears heavily. This cultivar
is grown and canned commercially.
'Tsrifin 8' (grown in Israel)–rounded pear-shaped; 25 to 30 g
in weight; yellow-orange with some russeting. Of excellent quality with
good acid and sugar content. Stands handling. shipping and storage
well. Late–mid-April to mid-May. Precocious, bears regularly
and abundantly but is subject to sunburn. Constitutes 10% of Israeli
'Victor' (originated by C.P. Taft in
1899)–oblong-pear-shaped; large; skin deep-yellow,
medium-thick, tough. Flesh whitish, translucent, melting, very juicy,
of sweet, mild flavor. There may be 3 to 5 seeds. Very late; too late
for California. Good for canning.
'Victory' (the most popular cultivar in West Australia)–oval,
large, yellow to orange, becoming amber on the sunny side. Flesh is
white to cream-colored, juicy, sweet. Midseason to occasionally early.
'Wolfe', (S.E.S. #4) (a seedling of 'Advance' selected and named at the
Agricultural Research and Education Center of the University of Florida
in Homestead, and released in 1966)–obovoid to slightly
pear-shaped; 1 3/4 to 2 in (4.5-5 cm) long and 1 to 1 1/4 in (2.5-3.2
cm) wide; yellow with fairly thick skin and pale-yellow, thick, firm,
juicy flesh of excellent flavor, acid but also sweet when tree-ripe;
has 1 to 5 seeds (usually 1 to 3). Tree reaches 25 ft (7.5 in) and
bears well nearly every year.
The loquat is normally pollinated by bees. Some cultivars such as
'Golden Yellow' are not self-fertile. 'Pale Yellow', 'Advance', and
'Tanaka' are partially self-fertile. In India, it has been observed
that cross-pollination generally results in 10-17 % increased
production over self-pollination. 'Tanaka' pollinated by 'Pale Yellow'
has a lower yield than when self-pollinated, indicating a degree of
cross-incompatibility. Whereas, when pollinated by 'Advance', the
normal yield of 'Tanaka' is nearly doubled.
When cross-pollinating for the purpose of hybridizing, only flowers of
the second flush should be used, as early and late flushes have
abnormal stamens, very little viable pollen, and result in poor setting
and undersized fruits.
The loquat is adapted to a subtropical to mild-temperate climate. In
China it grows naturally at altitudes between 3,000 and 7,000 ft
(914-2,100 m). In India, it grows at all levels up to 5, 000 ft (1,500
m). In Guatemala, the tree thrives and fruits well at elevations
between 3,000 and 6,900 ft (900-1,200 m), but bears little or not at
all at lower levels.
Well-established trees can tolerate a drop in temperature to
12° F (-11.11°C). In Japan, the killing temperature for
the flower bud is 19.4°F (7°C); for the mature flower,
26.6°F (-3°C). At 25°F (-3.89°C), the
seed is killed, causing the fruit to fall.
Loquats are grown on hillsides in Japan to have the benefit of good air
flow. Extreme summer heat is detrimental to the crop, and dry, hot
winds cause leaf scorch. Where the climate is too cool or excessively
warm and moist, the tree is grown as an ornamental but will not bear
The tree grows well on a variety of soils of moderate fertility, from
light sandy loam to heavy clay and even oolitic limestone, but needs
Generally, seeds are used for propagation only when the tree is grown
for ornamental purposes or for use as rootstock. Loquat seedlings are
preferred over apple, pear, quince or pyracantha rootstocks under most
conditions. Quince and pyracantha may cause extreme dwarfing-to less
than 8 ft (2.5 in). Quince rootstock tolerates heavier and wetter soils
than loquat but is apt to put out numerous suckers. Loquat seeds remain
viable for 6 months if stored in partly sealed glass jars under high
humidity at room temperature, but the best temperature for storage is
40°F (5°C). They are washed and planted in flats or
pots soon after removal from the fruit and the seedlings are
transplanted when 6 to 7 in (15-17.5 cm) high to nursery rows. When the
stem is 1/2 in (1.25 cm) thick at the base, the seedlings are ready to
be top-worked. In India, inarching is commonly practiced but budding
and grafting are more popular in most other areas. Shield-budding,
using 3-month-old scions, is successful. Cleft-grafting has been a
common practice in Florida. Veneer-grafting in April has proved to be a
superior method in Pakistan. Cuttings are not easy to root.
Air-layering may be only 20% successful, though 80 to 100% of the
layers root in 6 weeks if treated with 3% NAA (2-naphthoxyacetic acid).
Trees that are vegetatively propagated will begin to bear fruit in 5
years or less, as compared to 8 to 10 years in seedling trees. Old
seedling trees can be converted by cutting back severely and inserting
budwood of a preferred cultivar.
The rainy season is best for planting loquats. When planted on rich
soil, normal size trees should be set 25 to 30 ft (7.5-9 m) apart,
allowing about 83 trees per acre (200 per ha). In Brazil, a spacing of
23 × 23 ft (7×7 m) is recommended on flat land, 26
× 20 ft (8×6 m) or 26 × 16.5 ft
(8×5 m) on slopes. Dwarf trees are spaced at 13 ×
6.5 ft (4×2 m) in Japan and this may allow 208 per acre (500
per ha). The tree is a heavy feeder. For good fruit production the
trees require ample fertilization and irrigation. In the tropics,
animal manure is often used. A good formula for applications of
chemical fertilizer is: 1 lb (0.45 kg) 6-6-6 NPK three times a year
during the period of active growth for each tree 8 to 10 ft in height.
The trees should be watered at the swelling of blossoms and 2 to 3
waterings should be given during harvest-time. Thinning of flowers and
young fruits in the cluster, or the clipping off of the tip of the
cluster, or of entire clusters of flowers and fruits, is sometimes done
to enhance fruit size. This is carefully done by hand in Japan. With
the 'Tanaka' cultivar, the Japanese leave only one fruit per cluster;
with the 'Mogi', two. In Taiwan, thinning is done by spraying with NAA
when the flowers are fully open.
In Taiwan, because of the hazard of strong typhoons, the loquat is
grown as a mini-dwarf no more than 3 ft (0.9 m) high and wide, and
branch tips may be tied to the ground because branches kept at a
45° angle flower heavily. Spraying with gibberellic acid (60
ppm) at full bloom enhances fruit set and increases fruit size and
weight, total reducing sugars and ascorbic acid content, reduces fruit
drop, number of seeds, and acidity. Spraying the same at 300 ppm
results in small, seedless fruits. There should be judicious pruning
after harvest, otherwise terminal shoots become too numerous and cause
a decline in vigor which may result in biennial bearing. In Brazil, the
clusters are bagged to eliminate sunburn (purple staining of the skin)
to which both of the leading cultivars are susceptible.
Because of the shallow root system of the loquat, great care must be
taken in mechanical cultivation not to damage the roots. The growing of
dwarf trees greatly reduces the labor of flower-and fruit-thinning,
bagging, and, later, harvesting and pruning.
Generally, the loquat tree blooms in the fall and fruits in early
spring. However, in tropical climates, the tree may flower 2 or 3 times
a year beginning in July and set fruit mainly from the second
flowering. In Florida, ripening begins in February; in California,
usually in April; in Israel, the crop ripens from March to May. In
Brazil, the harvesting extends from May to October.
Loquats reach maturity in 90 days from full flower opening.
Determination of ripeness is not easy, but it is important because
unripe fruits are excessively acid. Full development of color for each
cultivar is the best guide.
The fruits are difficult to harvest because of the thick, tough stalk
on each fruit which does not separate readily from the cluster, and the
fruits must be picked with stalk attached to avoid tearing the skin.
Clusters are cut from the branch with a sharp knife or with clippers.
Whole clusters are not particularly attractive on the market, therefore
the individual fruits are clipped from the cluster, the stalk is
detached from each fruit and the fruits are graded for size and color
to provide uniform packs. Great care is taken to avoid blemishes.
Major Japanese growers have monorail systems for conveying the picked
fruits and equipment from their hillside plantations.
Dwarf loquats in Israel have produced 7 tons/ha at 3 years of age, 25
tons/ha at 7 years. Normal size trees in Brazil are expected to bear
110 lbs (50 kg) per tree, 4.17 tons per acre (10 tons/ha) when planted
at a rate of 83 trees per acre (200 trees/ha). The 'Wolfe' cultivar in
southern Florida has borne 100 lbs (45 kg) per tree at 5 years of age;
300 lbs (136 kg) when 15 to 20 years old.
Loquats generally will keep for 10 days at ordinary temperatures, and
for 60 days in cool storage. After removal from storage, the shelf-life
may be only 3 days. Treatment with the fungicide, benomyl, makes it
possible to maintain loquats for one month at 60°F
(15.56°C) with a minimum of decay. Other fungicides tried have
proved much less effective. Cold storage of loquats in polyethylene
bags alters the flavor of the fruit, promotes internal browning and the
development of fungi.
Pests and Diseases
In Japan, scale insects, aphids, fruit flies and birds damage the
fruits and may necessitate covering the clusters with cloth or paper
bags. Laborers can attach 1,000 to 1,500 bags per day. An acre may
require 62,500 bags (150,000/ha). A pole with a hook at the tip is
employed to bring each branch within reach. The process is labor
intensive. In Israel, wire netting is placed over trees to protect the
crop from birds.
The Caribbean fruit fly (Anastrepha suspensa) has ruined the dooryard
loquat crop for the past several years in Florida. The fruit flies, A.
striata and A. serpentina, require control in Venezuela, the
Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, in Tunisia. Another fruit
fly, Dacus dorsalis, is the major pest in India, forces the harvesting
of mature fruits while they are still too hard to be penetrated, and
the complete removal of all immature fruits at the same time so that
they will not remain as hosts. The soil around the base of the tree
must be plowed up and treated to kill the pupae. The second most
important predator is the bark-eating caterpillar, Indarbela
Minor pests include leaf-eating chafer beetles, A doretus duvauceli, A.
lasiopygus, A. horticola and A. versutus; gray weevils, Myllocerus
lactivirens and M. discolor which attack the margins of the leaves. The
scale insects, Coccus viridis, Eulecanium coryli, Parlatoria oleae, P. pseudopyri, Pulvinaria Psidii and
Saissetia hemisphaerica suck the sap from loquat leaves and branches.
Carpenter bees, Megochile anthracina, cut holes in the leaves and take
the tissue to line their mud nests. Aphids (Aphis malvae) suck sap from
twigs and shoots and sooty mold develops on the honeydew which they
excrete. Flowers are attacked by thrips (Heliothrips sp.). The
caterpillars of the anar butterfly, Virachola isocrates, bore into the
fruits and lay eggs on the fruits, flowers and leaves. In New Zealand,
a leaf-roller caterpillar eats into the buds and flowers. In
California, the main pests of loquat are the codlin moth (Cydia
pomonella), the green apple aphis (Aphis pomi) and scales.
The roots of loquat trees in India are preyed on by
nematodes–Criconemoides xenophax, Helicotylenchus spp.,
Hemicriconemoides communis, Haplolaimus spp. and Xiphinema insigne.
Pear blight (Bacillus amylovorus) is the major enemy of the loquat in
California and has killed many trees. Phytophthora is responsible for
crown rot and Pseudomonas eriobotryae causes cankers in California.
Scab may occur on the bark of the trunk and larger branches. A serious
disease is collar rot and root rot caused by Diplodia natalensis. D.
eriobotrya sometimes affects the leaves. The parasitic fungus,
Monochaetia indica, induces leaf spot in India. Leaf spot is also
caused by the soil-inhabiting fungus Schlerotium rolfsii. Spilocaeae
eriobotryae causes black spot on fruits and leaves in Italy and South
Western Australia. Fleck, caused by the fungus Fabraea maculata is
recognized by red-brown spots with whitish centers on leaves, shoots
and fruit. In Florida, leaf spot may result from infection by
Pestalotia sp. The foliage of young plants in Brazilian nurseries is
damaged by the fungus Entomosporium maculatum. Other fungus problems of
the loquat include stem-brown disease caused by Batryosphaeria
dothidee; die-back from Macrophoma sp., withertip from Collectotrichum
gloeosporioides, and twig blight and canker from Cytospora
chrysosperma. Post-harvest fruit rot is the result of infection by
Diplodia natalensis, Pestalotia sp. or Aspergillus niger.
Sunburn, "purple spot", is responsible for much fruit loss in hot
regions with long summers. Chemical sprays have been employed to hasten
fruit maturity to avoid sunburn. Various types of bags have been tried
in Brazil to protect the fruit from this blemish. The best are 2- and
3-ply newspaper bags.
Fig. 29: Peeled, seeded loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) canned in sirup
The skin of the loquat is easily removed. Peeled and seeded fruits are
eaten fresh, sometimes combined with sliced banana, orange sections and
grated coconut. They are delicious simply stewed with a little sugar
added. The fruits are also used in gelatin desserts or as pie-filling,
or are chopped and cooked as a sauce. Loquats canned in sirup are
exported from Taiwan.
Some people prepare spiced loquats (with cloves, cinnamon, lemon and
vinegar) in glass jars. The fruit is also made into jam and, when
slightly underripe, has enough pectin to make jelly. The jelly was
formerly manufactured commercially in California on a small scale.
*Analyses reported by the Agricultural Research Service of the United
States Department of Agriculture.
|Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
Vitamin A||2,340 I.U.|
Ascorbic Acid||3 mg|
The fruit contains laevulose, sucrose and malic acid and lesser amounts
of citric, tartaric and succinic acid. The pulp contains the
carotenoids B-carotene (33%); y-carotene (6%); cryptoxanthin (22%),
lutein, violaxanthin, neoxanthin (3-4% each). The peel is 5 times
richer than the pulp in carotenoids which are similar to those in
A 5-year-old girl in Florida ate 4 unripe loquats, fell asleep and was
difficult to awaken and seemed dazed. After about 2 hours, she was back
to normal. There have been instances of poisoning in poultry from
ingestion of loquat seeds. The seeds contain amygdalin (which is
converted into HCN); also the lipids, sterol, b-sitosterol,
triglyceride, sterolester, diglyceride and compound lipids; and fatty
acids, mainly linoleic, palmitic, linolenic and oleic. There is
amygdalin also in the fruit peel. The leaves possess a mixture of
triterpenes, also tannin, vitamin B and ascorbic acid; in addition,
there are traces of arsenic. Young leaves contain saponin. Some
individuals suffer headache when too close to a loquat tree in bloom,
The emanation from the flowers is sweet and penetrating.
Wood: The wood is pink, hard, close-grained, medium-heavy. It has been
used instead of pear wood in making rulers and other drawing
Animal feed: The young branches have been lopped for fodder.
Perfume: In the 1950's, the flowers attracted the interest of the
perfume industry in France and Spain and some experimental work was
done in extraction of the essential oil from the flowers or leaves. The
product was appealing but the yield was very small.
Medicinal Uses: The fruit is said to act as a sedative and is eaten to
halt vomiting and thirst.
The flowers are regarded as having expectorant properties. An infusion
of the leaves, or the dried, powdered leaves, may be taken to relieve
diarrhea and depression and to counteract intoxication from consumption
of alcoholic beverages. Leaf poultices are applied on swellings.
Last modified: November 12 2013 by aw