|Don't mess with loquats or Allen'll kick yer patootie.|
Though it's not native to Florida, the loquat grows excellently throughout the state, often naturalizing itself in the midst of oak forests and by the roadsides. Allen related that as a kid, he planted half the loquat trees in Ocala, either directly or indirectly.
(FYI: the "spitting pits off a bike" propagation method definitely works well... try it. Come on, do it.)
The fruit is fuzzy, sweet-tart and contains a couple of large smooth pits inside. Because it has a short season and soft fruit, the loquat is almost never seen for sale except in cans at the Oriental market. Which makes sense, because the Orient is the original home of the loquat.
|"Loquats and Mountain Bird," Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279)|
|"Monkey Holding a Potted Loquat"|
Another note: when you do end up with fruit, check it regularly for ripeness. When they start to get a little soft, harvest like mad. You seriously only get a few days to pick the tree before they start falling, rotting and bruising. My recommendation is to dry and freeze as many as possible (once pitted, of course) or juice and ferment them as fast as you can. Time is of the essence.
Go out and get a few of these - they're certainly worth having. If you want a low-care fruit tree, this is it.
3 1/2 Spuds
Name: Loquat tree, Japanese plum
Latin Name: Eriobotrya japonica
Type: Tree or large shrub
Nitrogen Fixer: No
Exposure: Full sun/part shade
Part Used: Fruit
Method of preparation: Raw, cooked, jellied.
Storability: Poor fresh. Preserve by drying, canning, fermenting into wine
Ease of growing: Easy