Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees

Loquat – Eriobotrya Japonica.

This smallish tree or large bush is a native of China and as such sometimes goes under the name of the Chinese Peach. Also called the Japanese Medlar, because its glossy green leaves are very similar to those of our Medlar although much bigger and evergreen, the Loquat is quite hardy in Great Britain. Indeed we have a mature specimen grown from a stone that is about 15 years old and that flowered at about 12 years. Occasionally in Winter an odd leaf or new shoot may be burnt by a hard frost, but if trimmed off will not cause any detrimental effects.

Loquats are widely grown in Southern Europe both for their fruit and as ornamental trees, due in part to the spectacular size of leaves that can be a foot long on large trees, and also due to their fragrant flowers produced from November through to April. Indeed their heady scent is most welcome in the otherwise dull English garden on a Winter’s evening.

After flowering, a peach coloured fruit is produced about the size of an elongated plum. The juicy flesh of the Loquat is a little tart rather than sweet and fruit is best served poached. When cooked and the skin is removed, they are very similar in texture and colour to the Apricot. Normally Loquat fruits bought from shops have two or three large stones inside that should grow if planted, although some garden centres are now starting to sell pot grown plants, but these can be very expensive.

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