University of Redlands

Common Name: Loquat Tree; Japanese Medlar

Scientific Name: Eriobotrya japonica

Family: Rosaceae

Habit: Dense evergreen bush or short tree. Can grow to be 20-30 ft (6-9 m) tall, but is more often about 10 ft (3 m). Overall rounded crown shape.

Leaves: Leaves are about 5-12 in (12.5-30 cm) long and 3-4 in (7.5-10 cm) wide. Dark green and glossy on the top side, whitish and a bit hairy on the bottom. Thick and stiff with obvious parallel lines (veins).

Twigs & Bark: Twigs are thick and slightly fuzzy. Bark is dark grey-brown and usually smooth.

Flowers & Fruits: Flowers are small and white and bloom in fall or early winter. Fruits, grown in clusters, are oval, round, or pear-shaped. Skin is yellow, orange, or sometimes light red in color and they grow to be 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) long.

Where It’s From
Native Range:

  • Grown in Japan for the past ~1000 years and is most likely native to the cool hills of southeastern China.
  • Southeastern China falls into the humid subtropical climate.
  • Summers are hot and muggy while winters are mild.
  • Experiences distinct seasons unlike topical locations.
  • Rainiest region in China with heaviest rainfall during summer monsoon.
  • Adapted to subtropical climates with moderate to warmer temperatures.
  • Can be grown in cooler temps. or ones with are excessively warm and moist, but it will not produce fruits.
  • White-fleshed varieties are better adapted to cool coastal areas.
  • Grown ornamentally though the coastal regions of California, but they do not often produce fruit for consumption.
  • Require good drainage, but can thrive in areas with only moderately fertile soil.
  • Ranges from sandy areas to areas with heavier soil with some clay or limestone.

Ecological Notes:

  • Dry, hot winds may cause leaf damage, and excessive heat may sunburn the fruit.
  • Bees are the most common pollinator.
  • Fruits contain 3-5 large brown seeds. Birds that feed on fruits consume the seeds and allow for a large seed-dispersal range.
  • Fireblight (a disease that most often affects the fruits of the Rose family) is a common concern and may kill off portions of the tree. To prevent spreading, infected parts can be pruned off. Otherwise the tree is very resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Fruit-feeding birds can often cause heavy damage to fruits if they are accessible.

What We Use It For

  • Commercial fruit harvesting in California is limited to coastal regions between San Diego and Santa Barbara where there is only a small crop yield.
  • Japan remains the leading grower of loquats with an annual crop of ~17,000 tons of fruits.
  • Wood is dense and can be used to make rulers and other drawing tools.
  • Flowers were at one point used for their essential oils and made into perfumes. Yield was very low and this use did not take off.
  • Fruit has been used as a sedative and is said to halt vomiting and thirst.


  1. “LOQUAT.” LOQUAT Fruit Facts, California Rare Fruit Growers Inc, 1997,
  2. “Loquat.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Nov. 2017,
  3. Eriobotrya japonica
  4. Eriobotrya japonica” Plants Profile for Eriobotrya Japonica (Loquat), USDA,
  5. University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Loquat Fact Sheet.” Fruit & Nut Research & Information Center, UC Davis, 2017,
  6. “SelecTree: Tree Detail.” UFEI - SelecTree: A Tree Selection Guide,
  7. Morton, J. “Loquat.” Loquat, 1987,
  8. Harris, Amy. “China 2017: The Climate in Southern China.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network,

Alex Bunch, FYS 20: Plants in Our World, Fall 2017