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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Eriobotrya japonica - Loquat

The loquat tree is a very commonly planted tree around here. Looking like a small evergreen tree or very large bush, they grow rapidly to 20-30' with a dense rounded or dome shaped canopy often with multiple main stems. 

I think these trees are planted for the fruit because they're not really very ornamental but the fruit and leaves are interesting.



Leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 8-10" long, elliptical to lanceolate, dark green, leathery, sharply serrated margins, lower surface covered with yellow hairs, and often V shaped.



New growth has more white hairs than older leaves.



Stems are covered green with a dense layer of hairs. Eventually falling off (hairs) revealing a gray brown color bark. 



Flowers late fall or winter, with about 1/2" diameter white flowers in large clusters. Fragrant.



The fruits are produced in clusters of 4 to about 10 are oval or pear-shaped, 1 - 2" long, and are usually covered with short soft hairs but can be smooth. Very edible.



Being an edible fruit tree and cultivated for the fruit all over the world, you might imagine there would be lots of varieties and you would be right,  references suggest over 800. 

Misidentification:
Can't think of anything, maybe the Bronze Loquat.

Locations
Santa Cruz
312 Oceanview Ave. small but a wonderful street full of great trees.

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