The Loquat has been cultivated in China and Japan for hundreds of years but is now spread across the globe. It lives in many Mediterranean (e.g., Greece, France, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey), Asian (e.g., India, Pakistan, and South Korea), and American (e.g., Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States) countries. It grows well in subtropical and mild temperate climates and prefers alkaline, deep soils with moderate fertility. The Loquat grows in valleys and forests of China, along the coasts of Australia, and in moist areas of Hawaii.
Origin, history, and uses:
The Loquat is native to south-central China, where it has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. It was then imported to Japan during the Tang dynasty. Now, this tree has spread to across the globe, and it has accumulated many names, including níspero in Latin America, lokat or nespli in India, ameixa-japonesa or nêspera in Brazil, apanische Wollmispel and Loquate in Germany, and lokhwot or pee-pae in Thailand. The loquat fruit and leaves have many uses. For example, the extracts from the fruit have been used in Chinese medicines to treat coughs, pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and cancer due to the loquat’s bioactive compounds that give it anticancerous, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties. The loquat also provides countries a lot of commercial success; Spain produces more than 40,000 tons of this fruit per year. Further, the fruit can be used to make wine, and the leaves are made into tea.
The Eriobotrya japonica is evergreen, so its leaves do not vary much throughout the four different seasons. Depending on the temperature of a tree's location, the flowers can begin to appear in the autumn or early winter. The fruits will initially be green as they grow in size and will begin to ripen about 150-200 days after the initial flowering occurs.