The Loquat fruit is yellow to orange to reddish tinged orange and grows in clusters with shape ranging from round to oval to pear shaped. It is mildly sweet and tart in taste. The thin fuzzy skin can be peeled off in a ripe fruit, The seeds are comparatively large for the fruit size.
Loquat fruit is eaten fresh. Pies and tarts are made from slightly immature fruits. Jam, jelly, chutney and sauce are also prepared from it. A light wine is produced from it and in Japan, an alcoholic beverage called “sake” is made from its seeds.
Latin Name Eriobotrya japonica. In India, Loquat fruit is called Lukat or Lugath. Other common names are : Japanese medlar, Chinese plum, Japanese plum, Nispero, etc. In China, it is called ‘pipa’ and in Japan as ‘biwa’
The Loquat tree belongs to the family Rosaceae and is native to China. From here, it spread to Japan around the year 700 AD so it has been cultivated for over a thousand years in Japan. It is among the first cultivated fruits in Asia. There are about 900 cultivars of Loquat. Japan leads the world’s production of Loquat.
The Loquat tree is a small tree that is about 10-15 feet high, though it can reach a height of 30 feet. The tree grows best in subtropical and warm temperate areas of the world, doesn’t like extreme heat and prefers partial shade.
It is often grown as an ornamental tree.
Loquat is grown in southern Japan, Taiwan, Europe, the Near, Middle, and Far East, North Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the East Indies (at moderate altitudes), and North, Central, and South America.
In the Unites States is cultivated in Hawaii, Florida and California.