Botanical Name: Eriobotrya japonica
Species: E. japonica
*Crataegus bibas Lour.
*Mespilus japonica Thunb.
*Photinia japonica (Thunb.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex Asch. & Schweinf.
Common Name: Loquat, Japanese Loquat
Loquat is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, mainly grown on the cooler hill regions of south-central China.It is also commonly found in Japan, Korea, northern parts of the Philippines, Himachal Pradesh in India, the Pothohar Plateau in Pakistan, and hilly regions in Sri Lanka. It can also be found in southern European countries such as Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Italy, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Spain and Portugal, several northern African countries including Morocco and Algeria, and in countries in the Middle East such as Israel, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon. as well as in parts of East Africa, like regions of Kenya.
Eriobotrya japonica is a large evergreen 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 (10–13 ft). The fruit begins to ripen during spring to summer depending on the temperature in the area. The leaves are alternate, simple, 10–25 centimetres (4–10 in) 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….CLICK & SEE
Fruits:…...CLICK & SEE
Loquats are unusual among fruit trees in that the flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, and the fruits are ripe at any time from early spring to early summer. The flowers are 2 cm (1 in) in 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 centimetres (1–2 in) 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 from one to ten ovules, with three to five being most common. A variable number of the ovules mature into large brown seeds (with different numbers of seeds appearing in each fruit on the same tree, usually between one and four).
The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. The flavour is a mixture of peach, citrus and mild mango.
Over 800 loquat cultivars exist in Asia. Self-fertile variants include the ‘Gold Nugget’ and ‘Mogi’ cultivars. The loquat is easy to grow in subtropical to mild temperate climates where it is often primarily grown as an ornamental plant, especially for its sweet-scented flowers, and secondarily for its delicious fruit. The boldly textured foliage adds a tropical look to gardens, contrasting well with many other plants. It is popular in the Eastern United States, as well as the American South.
The loquat has 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. The fruits are also commonly used to make jam, jelly and chutney, and are often served poached in light syrup. Firm, slightly immature fruits are best for making pies or tarts.
The fruit is sometimes canned or processed into confections. The waste ratio is 30 percent or more, due to the seed size.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.
The loquat is low in sodium and high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, potassium, and manganese.
Like most related plants, the seeds (pips) and young leaves of the plant are slightly poisonous, containing small amounts of cyanogenic glycosides (including amygdalin) which release cyanide when digested, though the low concentration and bitter flavour normally prevent enough being eaten to cause harm.
The loquat is one of the most popular cough remedies in the Far East, it is the ingredient of many patent medicines. The leaves are analgesic, antibacterial, antiemetic, antitussive, antiviral, astringent, diuretic and expectorant. A decoction of the leaves or young shoots is used as an intestinal astringent and as a mouthwash in cases of thrush and also in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs, feverish colds etc. The leaves are harvested as required and can be used fresh or dried. The hairs should be removed from the leaves in order to prevent irritation of the throat. The flowers are expectorant. The fruit is slightly astringent, expectorant and sedative. It is used in allaying vomiting and thirst
Known Hazards: The seed is slightly poisonous. This report probably refers to the hydrogen cyanide that is found in many plants of this family, the seed should only be used in small amounts if it is bitter. 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.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.