The loquat, Eriobotrya japonica, is a fruit tree in the family Rosaceae, indigenous to central China (Chongqing and Hubei province). 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, and in China as "pipa".
The plant 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 tall, but is often smaller, about 3–4 metres. 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. The generic name Eriobotrya is from the Greek, meaning "hairy grape".
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. They are a common street and garden tree in Melbourne.
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. In Egypt varieties with sweeter fruits and less seeds are often grafted on inferior quality specimens .The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. The subtle flavour is a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.