Loquat, Japanese Plum (6 3 gal / $30) Scientific Name: Eriobotrya japonica
History/general species info: Native to China, carefully cultivated in Japan for a thousand years or more, and beloved in the American South. Member of the pome family and is a cousin of pears, apples, and quinces. One of the more familiar of all tropical fruit plants in TexasThe fruit doesn’t travel well or have a long shelf life, which is why it is a rare find in the grocery store. .
Characteristics: Evergreen. Very symmetrical. Compact with a dense crown. Evergreen shrub to small tree. Also known as Japanese plum or Japanese medlar, loquat produces large, dark green leaves that are often used in floral arrangements.produces clusters of 1-inch delicate flowers that produce a sweet, far-traveling fragrance. The flowers give way to round or pear-shaped yellow-orange fruits that are one to two inches long. The yellow, orange, or white flesh of the fruit can be sweet or slightly acidic. Their sweet-tart flavor has been described variously as being similar to plum, lemon, apricot, cherry, grape, or some combination thereof.
Flower: yes, creamy white, very fragrant
Planting / Care: Drought tolerant but more productive with regular water. Grows well in all soils. Application of 6-6-6 (NPK) fertilizer three times over the growing season encourages more fruit. Prune only as needed to fit in your landscape, and remove deadwood as necessary. Loquat fruit needs to ripen fully on the tree before you harvest it. The fruits are mature about 90 days after the flower is fully open. You’ll know it’s harvest time when the fruit up near the stem is yellow-orange, with no green, and when it’s soft, and easily pulls off the stem.