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loquat, yellow plum, chinese plum

Eriobotrya japonica

Description:

The loquat ( /ˈloʊkwæt/), Eriobotrya japonica, is a fruit tree in the family Rosaceae, indigenous to southeastern China. It was formerly thought to be closely related to the genus Mespilus, and is still sometimes known as the Japanese medlar. It is also known as Japanese plum and as Chinese plum. Eriobotrya japonica is an evergreen large shrub or small tree, with a rounded crown, short trunk and woolly new twigs. The tree can grow to 5–10 metres (16–33 ft) tall, but is often smaller, about 3–4 metres (9.8–13 ft). The leaves are alternate, simple, 10–25 cm long, dark green, tough and leathery in texture, with a serrated margin, and densely velvety-hairy below with thick yellow-brown pubescence; the young leaves are also densely pubescent above, but this soon rubs off. Loquats are unusual among fruit trees in that the flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, and the fruits are ripe in late winter or early spring. The flowers are 2 cm diameter, white, with five petals, and produced in stiff panicles of three to ten flowers. The flowers have a sweet, heady aroma that can be smelled from a distance. Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 cm long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar. Each fruit contains five ovules, of which one to five mature into large brown seeds. The skin, though thin, can be peeled off manually if the fruit is ripe. The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. The flavor is a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango

Habitat:

The Loquat is easy to grow in subtropical to mild temperate climates where it is often grown as an ornamental tree, and second for its delicious fruit. The boldly textured foliage adds a tropical look to gardens, contrasting well with many other plants

Notes:

The loquat is originally from southeastern China. It was introduced into Japan and became naturalised there in very early times, and has been cultivated there for over 1,000 years. It has also become naturalised in Kenya, India, the whole Mediterranean Basin, Pakistan and many other areas. Chinese immigrants are presumed to have carried the loquat to Hawaii. The loquat was often mentioned in ancient Chinese literature, such as the poems of Li Bai. In Portuguese literature, it is mentioned since before the Age of Discovery The loquat is comparable with its distant relative, the apple, in many aspects, with a high sugar, acid and pectin content. It is eaten as a fresh fruit and mixes well with other fruits in fresh fruit salads or fruit cups. Firm, slightly immature fruits are best for making pies or tarts. The fruits are also commonly used to make jam, jelly, and chutney, and are often served poached in light syrup. In Japan, it is eaten fresh or sometimes canned because the flesh is sweet. However, the waste ratio is 30% or more, due to the size of the seed. Among other things, it is processed to confectionery including jellies and the jam. Loquats can also be used to make light wine. It is fermented into a fruit wine, sometimes using just the crystal sugar and white liquor. Lemon or lemon zest is often paired with the wine because the fruit has very low acidity. Aficionados also enjoy a sake made exclusively from the seed, which has an aroma much like apricot kernel. Due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides, bulk consumption may pose a risk of cyanide poisonings. The loquat is low in saturated fat and sodium, and is high in vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, and manganese. Loquat syrup is used in Chinese medicine for soothing the throat and is a popular ingredient for cough drops.[citation needed] The leaves, combined with other ingredients and known as pipa gao (枇杷膏; pinyin: pípágāo; literally "loquat paste"), it acts as a demulcent and an expectorant, as well as to soothe the digestive and respiratory systems Eaten in quantity, loquats have a gentle but noticeable sedative effect, with effects lasting up to 24 hours

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4 Comments

SusanEllison
SusanEllison 8 years ago

Asergio...now I am educated about this plant...I may just picked some to eat along my walk! thanks again.

SusanEllison
SusanEllison 8 years ago

Thanks Asergio...I was walking neighborhood and all these were fruiting...I do see people picking them sometimes. I did open one and licked it (just in case it is not edible) it tasted sour...maybe it is not ripe yet. So do you just eat it straight up or make something out of it?

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 8 years ago

The loquat, Eriobotrya japonica, is a fruit tree in the family Rosaceae, indigenous to southeastern China. It was formerly thought to be closely related to the genus Mespilus, and is still sometimes known as the Japanese medlar. It is also known as Japanese plum and as Chinese plum.

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 8 years ago

Susan, in Brazil we call it "Yellow plum" or "Nespera". Yes, it IS edible, and it is just de-li-ci-ous. Try it, you won't be disapointed!!!!

SusanEllison
Spotted by
SusanEllison

Anahuac, Texas, USA

Spotted on Mar 13, 2012
Submitted on Mar 13, 2012

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