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  • Writer's pictureThe Clayton Farm

Loquat Fruit, What Fruit?

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a large evergreen shrub or tree, grown commercially for its orange fruit and for its leaves, which are used to make herbal tea. It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant.

The loquat is in the family Rosaceae, and is native to the cooler hill regions of south-central China. The loquat has been grown in Japan for over 1,000 years, and has been introduced to regions with subtropical to mild temperate climates throughout the world.

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 have a sweet, heady aroma that can be smelled from a distance. I love the tree so much that not only does it flower in winter while nothing else blooms but it's great scenery to see our bees buzzing around near the loquat trees while they were supposed to be in dormancy.

Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 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. Loquat leaves are also used to treat diarrhea, depression, and even help to counteract alcoholic intoxication

The loquat was often mentioned in medieval Chinese literature, such as the poems of Li Bai. Its original name is pipa (枇杷), which is a reference to the fruit's visual resemblance to a miniature pipa lute.

Loquat syrup is a traditional Chinese natural herbal remedy used to relieve sore throats, coughs, hoarseness, and loss of voice. It's a throat demulcent and expectorant.

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