Invasive Species Compendium

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Eriobotrya japonica
(loquat)

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Datasheet

Eriobotrya japonica (loquat)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 25 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Eriobotrya japonica
  • Preferred Common Name
  • loquat
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Eriobotrya japonica is a perennial tree species that has been widely grown as an ornamental tree and for its sweet, edible fruits. Mammals and birds feed on the fruit and disseminate the seeds into the wild, fa...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat); fruiting habit. Lakeland Florida, USA. February 2012.
TitleHabit
CaptionEriobotrya japonica (loquat); fruiting habit. Lakeland Florida, USA. February 2012.
Copyright©Malcolm Manners (Florida, USA)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat); fruiting habit. Lakeland Florida, USA. February 2012.
HabitEriobotrya japonica (loquat); fruiting habit. Lakeland Florida, USA. February 2012.©Malcolm Manners (Florida, USA)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat); ripe fruits. Shibuya Farm Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
TitleFruits
CaptionEriobotrya japonica (loquat); ripe fruits. Shibuya Farm Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat); ripe fruits. Shibuya Farm Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
FruitsEriobotrya japonica (loquat); ripe fruits. Shibuya Farm Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat); flower buds. Cafe 808 Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2007.
TitleFlower buds
CaptionEriobotrya japonica (loquat); flower buds. Cafe 808 Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat); flower buds. Cafe 808 Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2007.
Flower budsEriobotrya japonica (loquat); flower buds. Cafe 808 Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl.

Preferred Common Name

  • loquat

Other Scientific Names

  • Crataegus bibas Lour.
  • Mespilus japonica Thunb.
  • Photinia japonica (Thunb.) Franch. & Sav.

International Common Names

  • English: Japanese medlar; Japanese plum; loquat; medlar (Japanese)
  • Spanish: loquat; nespereira; níspero; níspero del Japón; zapote de Japón
  • French: barbassier; bibas; bibasse; bibassier; bibassier du Japon; neflier du Japon; néflier du Japon; néflier du Japon
  • Chinese: biba; luju; pi ba
  • Portuguese: ameixieira-do-Japao; nespereira; nespereira-do-Japão

Local Common Names

  • Australia: bibasse
  • Brazil: ameixa-amarela; ameixa-do-canadá; ameixa-japonesa; nêspera
  • Cambodia: tôn leap
  • Germany: Japanische Mispel; Japanische Wollmispel; Loquate
  • India: lokat; nespli
  • Indonesia: lokat; lokwat; papalaan
  • Italy: nespolo del Giappone; nispolero
  • Japan: bipa; biwa
  • Lesser Antilles: prune du Japon
  • Malaysia/Peninsular Malaysia: lokwat; papalaan
  • Netherlands: japaanse Mispelboom
  • Nicaragua: ciruela japonesa
  • Puerto Rico: níspero de España
  • Spain: agrios; nispolero de Japón
  • Thailand: lokhwot; pee-pae
  • Vietnam: nhót tây; so'n trà nhatban'; ti ba diêp

EPPO code

  • EIOJA (Eriobotrya japonica)

Trade name

  • loquat

Summary of Invasiveness

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Eriobotrya japonica is a perennial tree species that has been widely grown as an ornamental tree and for its sweet, edible fruits. Mammals and birds feed on the fruit and disseminate the seeds into the wild, facilitating the establishment of new plants in areas outside cultivation. Once established, this species has the potential to form tall stands that replace native vegetation. Currently it is listed as invasive in the Mediterranean region, Australia, New Zealand, Réunion, Hawaii, Chile, Galapagos Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Rosales
  •                         Family: Rosaceae
  •                             Genus: Eriobotrya
  •                                 Species: Eriobotrya japonica

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Rosaceae is a family of 92 genera and 2,805 species of herbs, shrubs and trees, distributed worldwide but especially diverse in the northern hemisphere (Stevens, 2019). This family comprises important species often used as ornamentals and for their edible fruits (i.e., Potentilla, Prunus, Geum, Alchemilla, Sorbus, Spiraea and Rosa). Eriobotrya is a small genus comprising between 15 and 22 species, most of them originating in southern China, the rest in South-East Asia (Janick and Paull, 2008). The number of Eriobotrya species is under dispute and the opinions of authors in different countries vary. Eriobotrya is often confused with Mespilus, and sometimes with Crataegus and Photinia.

About 800 E. japonica cultivars have been developed. Based on their origin, two groups can be distinguished: (1) the Chinese group with large, pyriform, deep-orange fruit and (2) the Japanese group with small, slender, light-coloured fruit (Orwa et al., 2009).

Description

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General Description

Eriobotrya japonica is a small evergreen tree, occasionally up to 10 m; shoot density varies with cultivar. Branchlets yellowish brown, densely rusty or greyish rusty tomentose. Stipule subulate, 1–1.5 cm, pubescent. Petiole nearly absent or short, 6–10 mm, greyish brown tomentose. Leaves leathery, lateral veins 11 or 12 pairs; upper surface usually lustrous, lower surface often with pubescence; blades are lanceolate, oblanceolate, obovate, or elliptic-oblong, 12-30 cm long and 3-9 cm wide; margin entire basally, remotely serrate apically, apex acute or acuminate (Flora of China, 2016).

Flowers

Inflorescence 10-19 cm long, the main panicle axis bears five to ten branched secondary axes, with 70-100 flowers, occasionally more than 100. Peduncle densely rusty tomentose; bracts subulate, 2–5 mm, densely rusty tomentose. Pedicel 2–8 mm, rusty tomentose. Hermaphrodite, flowers fragrant, 1.2–2 cm in diameter. Hypanthium shallowly cupular, abaxially rusty tomentose. Sepals triangular-ovate, 2–3 mm, abaxially densely rusty tomentose, apex obtuse. Petals white, oblong or ovate, 5–9 × 4–6 mm, apex obtuse or emarginate. Stamens 20. Ovary rusty pubescent apically, 5-loculed, with 2 ovules per locule; styles 5, free (Flora of China, 2016; Janick and Paull, 2008).

Fruit

Fruit is a pome, round, obovate or elliptical; fruit size 2-5 cm; average weight usually about 30-40 g; but some cultivars such as ‘Jiefangzhong’ average 70 g, the largest 172 g, and the Spanish cultivar ‘Marc’ averages 90 g, the largest more than 200 g. Peel and flesh are white or yellow; fruit apex concave, flat or convex, with calyx cavity closed or open; ease of fruit peeling depends on cultivars; thickness of flesh 0.5-0.8 cm, proportion of flesh usually 60-80%; number of seeds varies between one and eight, but is often three or four, each seed weighing 1.1-3.6 g (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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Indigenous to south-eastern China and Japan, where it has been cultivated for centuries (Hiep and Verheij, 1991; Flora of China, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2018), loquat is now widely grown across India and South-East Asia, the East Indies, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, the Mediterranean region (particularly Spain and Turkey) and South Africa. Although it was introduced as a horticultural tree, it can be found naturalized in India, southern Asia, the Mediterranean region, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, North, Central and South America, the West Indies and on many islands in the Indian and the Pacific Ocean (Hiep and Verheij, 1991; Broome et al., 2007; Orwa et al., 2009; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Davidse et al., 2015; PIER, 2016; PROTA, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2018). Generally, loquats are found between latitudes 20° and 35° north and south, but can be cultivated up to a latitude of 45° in maritime climates (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Planted Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedPlantedPROTA (2016)
AngolaPresentIntroducedPlantedPROTA (2016)
CameroonPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
EgyptPresentIntroducedPlantedPROTA (2016)
EritreaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017); PROTA (2016)Naturalized
GhanaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
KenyaPresentIntroducedInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017); PROTA (2016)
LibyaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
MadagascarPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
MayottePresentIntroducedPIER (2016)
MoroccoPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
RéunionPresentIntroducedInvasiveKueffer and Lavergne (2004)
RwandaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017)Naturalized
South AfricaPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedInvasive Species South Africa (2016)
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017); PROTA (2016)Naturalized
UgandaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017); PROTA (2016)Naturalized
ZambiaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017)Naturalized
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)

Asia

CambodiaPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
ChinaPresentPlantedCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-AnhuiPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-ChongqingPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)
-FujianPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-GansuPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-GuangdongPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-GuangxiPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-GuizhouPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-HainanPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-HebeiPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-HenanPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-HubeiPresentNativePlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)
-HunanPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)
-JiangsuPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-JiangxiPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-ShaanxiPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-YunnanPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
-ZhejiangPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
IndiaPresentPlantedCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-AssamPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: India Biodiversity (2016)
-DelhiPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: India Biodiversity (2016)
-Himachal PradeshPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: India Biodiversity (2016)
-KeralaPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: India Biodiversity (2016)
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: India Biodiversity (2016)
-PunjabPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: India Biodiversity (2016)
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: India Biodiversity (2016)
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: India Biodiversity (2016)
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
JapanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
-HonshuPresentNativePlantedUSDA-ARS (2018)
-KyushuPresentNativePlantedUSDA-ARS (2018)
-ShikokuPresentNativePlantedUSDA-ARS (2018)
LaosPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
MyanmarPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
SingaporePresentIntroducedPlantedChong et al. (2009)Cultivated
TaiwanPresentPlantedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Cultivated
ThailandPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
TurkeyPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
VietnamPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)

Europe

AlbaniaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
BelgiumPresentIntroducedInvasiveAlien plants of Belgium (2019)
CyprusPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
FrancePresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
-CorsicaPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedPuddu et al. (2016)
GermanyPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
GreecePresentIntroducedPlantedGalanos (2015); Orwa et al. (2009)Rhodes Island
ItalyPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedCelesti-Grapow et al. (2009)
-SardiniaPresentPlantedPuddu et al. (2016)
MaltaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
PortugalPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
-AzoresPresentIntroducedInvasiveGBIF (2019)
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedInvasiveCABI (Undated)Original citation: da Silva Vieira (2002)
SpainPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
-Balearic IslandsPresentIntroducedPlantedGBIF (2019)
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedGBIF (2019)
United KingdomPresentPlantedCABI (Undated b)

North America

Costa RicaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated and naturalized; Original citation: Davidse et al. (2015)
CubaPresentIntroducedPlantedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedPlantedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated and naturalized; Original citation: Davidse et al. (2015)
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated and naturalized; Original citation: Davidse et al. (2015)
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
HondurasPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated and naturalized; Original citation: Davidse et al. (2015)
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
MexicoPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated and naturalized; Original citation: Davidse et al. (2015)
MontserratPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated b)
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated and naturalized; Original citation: Davidse et al. (2015)
PanamaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated and naturalized; Original citation: Davidse et al. (2015)
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedPlantedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedCABI (Undated)Cultivated; Original citation: T&T Biodiversity (2016)
United StatesPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaPresentPlantedUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-FloridaPresentIntroducedPlantedUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedPlantedUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedPIER (2016); Lorence et al. (1995)Cultivated
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2016)

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasiveCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-Lord Howe IslandPresentIntroducedInvasiveCABI (Undated); Weeds of Australia (2016)Original citation: Orchard (1994)
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedWeeds of Australia (2016)
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedWeeds of Australia (2016)
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedPlantedWeeds of Australia (2016)
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedPlantedWeeds of Australia (2016)
Christmas IslandPresentIntroducedPIER (2016)
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedPlantedPIER (2016)
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedPlantedPIER (2016)
-PohnpeiPresentIntroducedPlantedPIER (2016)
FijiPresentIntroducedPlantedPIER (2016)Cultivated
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedPlantedFlorence et al. (2007)Cultivated
GuamPresentIntroducedPlantedPIER (2016)
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedPlantedMacKee (1994)Cultivated
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedWebb et al. (1988)
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroducedPlantedWeeds of Australia (2016)
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedPlantedPIER (2016)
PitcairnPresentIntroducedPlantedPIER (2016)
TongaPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedSpace and Flynn (2001)
United States Minor Outlying Islands
-Johnston AtollPresentIntroducedPlantedPIER (2016)

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al. (2009)
BoliviaPresentIntroducedJørgensen et al. (2014)
BrazilPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-AlagoasPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-BahiaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-Distrito FederalPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-GoiasPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-ParaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-ParaibaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-ParanaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-PernambucoPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-PiauiPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
-SergipePresentIntroducedNaturalizedPlantedSimão-Bianchini (2015)Naturalized
ChilePresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedDanton et al. (2006)Also invasive on on Juan Fernández Islands
-Easter IslandPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedPIER (2016)
ColombiaPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
EcuadorPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedCharles Darwin Foundation (2008)
French GuianaPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
GuyanaPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
SurinamePresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedPlantedOrwa et al. (2009)

History of Introduction and Spread

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It is thought that E. japonica has been cultivated in Japan and China for over 1,000 years. The botanist E. Kaempfer first described and introduced this species to the western world in 1690. Later, in 1712, C.P. Thunberg provided a more elaborate description. In Europe, this species was planted in the National Gardens in Paris in 1784, and plants taken from Canton (China) were planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew (England) in 1787. By 1818, cultivation had spread across England, Malta, Algeria and the Near East (Morton, 1987).

In South America, Central America, Mexico and the United States (i.e., California), this species has appeared in cultivation and collections since 1867. It was quite common as a small-fruited ornamental in California gardens in the late 1870s (Morton, 1987). In the West Indies, E. japonica appears in herbarium collections made in 1899 in Puerto Rico and in 1926 in Cuba (US National Herbarium, 2019).

In Hawaii, it is thought that E. japonica was introduced by Chinese immigrants (Morton, 1987). By 1990, Wagner et al. (1999) noted that it occasionally escapes from cultivation in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. By 1995, it was reported as naturalized on the island of Kauai (Lorence et al., 1995).

Habitat

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Within its native distribution range E. japonica grows in valleys and forests (Flora of China, 2016). In Australia, it can be found growing in coastal areas, in dry sclerophyll forests and along waterways (Weeds of Australia, 2016). In Hawaii it can be found naturalized in moist and wet areas, in mixed mesic forests, rainforests and along roadsides (Lorence et al., 1995; PIER, 2016)In New Zealand, this species can be found naturalized in disturbed forests and shrublands, hillsides and near sites of cultivation (Webb et al., 1988; Weeds of New Zealand, 2016).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for E. japonica is 2n = 34 (Flora of China, 2016). Loquat has gametophytic self incompatibility (GSI) and PCR analysis suggests that the S6 haplotype is responsible for the breakdown of GSI (Schneider et al., 2011). 

Growth stages

Loquat is a perennial, long-lived tree and orchards over 90 years old remain productive. In China, flower bud differentiation occurs from July (warmer climate) to September (cooler climate). In Zhejiang, China, the main axis of inflorescence panicles differentiate in the beginning of August, secondary axes in the middle to the end of August, sepals and petals in the beginning of September, stamens and pistils in the middle to end of September, and sperm nuclei and egg nuclei in October. The time span from flower bud differentiation to anthesis in November is 3 months. The summer lateral shoot begins to differentiate flower buds in September, 1 month later than the spring main shoot, but anthesis also takes place in November, the differential duration just spanning 2 months. Therefore, flower clusters of summer lateral shoots may be short and small, and should be thinned. Flowering in loquat may extend over 1.5-2.5 months, and fruit normally ripen about 150-200 days from flowering. In Israel, the loquat flowers over a 3-month period, which permits collection of fruit at all stages of development at a single date. In New Zealand flowers appear from April to August, followed by fruits from October to December (Weeds of New Zealand, 2016). Trees that are vegetatively propagated will begin to bear fruit in 5 years or less, as compared to 8 to 10 years in seedling trees (Morton, 1987).

Reproduction

Eriobotrya japonica has bisexual flowers that are often pollinated by bees. Some cultivars are partially self-compatible. In Punjab, India, Apis dorsata is the main flower visitor. Other species of insects found occasionally included syrphids, houseflies, Myrmeleontidae, Bombinae and Pieris rapae. In India, for some cultivars, it has been observed that cross-pollination results in fruit-set increases of about 10-17% over self-pollination (Morton, 1987). The germination rate of pollen is related to percentage fruit set. There are papillose cells on the wet stigma and conducting tissue in the style, which contains transfer cells and annular tracheids. Transfer cells are also found in locules. Some cells in the inner integument and nucellus have outstanding wall ingrowths.

Fruit

The growth pattern of loquat fruit is exponential, with a rapid growth towards the end of fruit development in spring. The maturation phase is characterized by a decline in acidity, colour development, pulp softening and sugar accumulation and a rapid increase in the fresh weight of the pulp tissue. The fruit produces ethylene at the beginning of the maturation phase. However, the loquat is a non-climacteric fruit and shows no climacteric rise in respiration and no peak of ethylene production either on the tree or after harvest. The fruit does not abscise after ripening but shrinks on the tree. Fruit weight is influenced by the number of days to ripening, heat summation from flowering to ripening, seed number and seed weight, but not number of leaves on bearing shoots. Seed weight is the most influential factor affecting fruit weight. Fruit acidity increases up to 50 days after fruit set and then declines as maturity approaches, resulting in a marked increase in total soluble solids (TSS) and the sugar:acid ratio.

In China, loquat fruit growth occurs in three stages and the levels of endogenous growth regulators have been analysed during each stage. In stage I, the stage of slow fruit growth, from December to the middle of February, IAA, abscisic acid (ABA) and cytokinin are maximal. In stage II, the cell division stage from the end of February to the end of March, ABA declines gradually to a minimum, while ethylene, which appears at the end of stage I, increases gradually to a maximum and then gradually declines. IAA and cytokinin reach a second peak at the end of stage II. In stage III, the stage of rapid enlargement of fruits in the middle of April to fruit maturation, IAA and cytokinin are at a minimum, ABA increases again and a second peak of ethylene occurs.

Scanning electron microscopy of loquat reveals that the fruit skin is composed of only one layer of cells. The stomatal openings and base of the trichome are surrounded by small, circular, cuticle ridges. Stomatal differentiation is completed before enlargement of young fruit, while trichomes develop up to the initial stages of fruit enlargement. Sucrose accumulates faster than any other sugars at the beginning of fruit maturation and became the predominant sugar in ripe fruit, while sorbitol, predominant during fruit development, is reduced to a minor component in ripe fruit. Glucose and fructose content increases as colour intensity increases. Malic and citric acid levels increase with fruit maturation, and then decrease, with citric acid declining at a faster rate. Traces of tartaric acid that disappear with maturation are found in green fruit (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Environmental requirements

Eriobotrya japonica grows in subtropical and warm temperate climates at elevations ranging from 700 m to 2400 m. In China and India, loquats are grown at elevations up to 2000 m. Loquats are grown on hillsides in Japan to obtain the benefits of good air flow. In more tropical regions, the tree thrives and fruits well at elevations between 900 and 1200 m, but bears little or not at all at lower levels.

For cultivation, winter temperature should be higher than -3°C and summer temperature not over 35°C. Trees can survive temperatures as low as -10°C but temperatures lower than -12°C can be lethal (Morton, 1987; Hiep and Verheij, 1991; Orwa et al., 2009). The flowers and fruit of loquat are particularly susceptible to extremes of temperature. Ovules in early fruit are killed by brief exposure to -4°C. The tree requires 1000-1200 mm of rainfall annually and a suitable level of humidity.

This species grows well on a variety of soils of moderate fertility, from light sandy loam to heavy clay and even oolitic limestone (Morton, 1987). It has a tolerated pH range of 5.0-8.0, however, it prefers acid over alkaline soils, with pH 6.0 being optimum. Soil should be deep with good drainage and an adequate content of organic matter (Janick and Paull, 2008; ​Orwa et al., 2009).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
45 30 50 2000

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -17
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 5 25
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 25 32
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 12 15

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration05number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall6501000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Notes on Natural Enemies

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According to Orwa et al., (2009), the major pathogens of E. japonica are fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) and loquat scab (Fusicladium dendriticum var. eriobotryae [Venturia inaequalis]). In Florida (USA), the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides [Glomerella cingulata] blights the flowers. In California, this species is most commonly attacked by the codling moth (Cydia pomonella), green apple aphid (Aphis pomi), scale (Aspidiotus perniciosus [Diaspidiotus perniciosus]) and wax scale (Ceroplastes floridensis).

In other countries, the fruits of E. japonica are attacked by the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) and the fungus Spilocaea eribotryae [Spilocaea pyracanthae]. In India, the anar caterpillar (Virachola isocrates [Deudorix isocrates]) bores into the fruit (Orwa et al., 2009). The roots of trees in India are preyed on by nematodes Mesocriconema xenoplax, Helicotylenchus spp., Hemicriconemoides communis, Haplolaimus spp. and Xiphinema insigne (Morton, 1987).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Eriobotrya japonica naturally spreads by seed. In cultivation, trees can also be propagated by cuttings (Gilman et al., 2013).

Vector transmission (biotic)

Eriobotrya japonica seeds are dispersed by birds, bats and other animals (Orwa et al., 2009).

Unintentional introduction

Eriobotrya japonica is often spread in dumped vegetation. Gardens, wastelands and plantations are common seed sources (Weeds of New Zealand, 2016).

Intentional introduction

Eriobotrya japonica has been intentionally introduced and widely grown in cultivation for its edible fruits (USDA-ARS, 2018).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionGrown for its edible fruits Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2018
DisturbanceNaturalized along roadsides and in disturbed sites Yes Yes PIER, 2016
Escape from confinement or garden escapeSeeds Yes Yes Weeds of New Zealand, 2016
Garden waste disposalSeeds/dumped vegetation Yes Yes Weeds of New Zealand, 2016
Hedges and windbreaksOften planted as hedge and windbreak Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
HorticultureOrnamental/ shade tree/ edible fruit Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Intentional releaseWidely commercialized as ornamental/shade tree/hedge tree/edible fruit Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Internet salesPlants and seeds sold online Yes Yes ,
Medicinal useUsed in traditional Asian medicine Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Nursery tradeWidely commercialized as ornamental/ shade tree/ hedge tree Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Ornamental purposesWidely commercialized as ornamental/ shade tree/ hedge tree Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
People sharing resourcesWidely commercialized for its edible fruit Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Timber tradeTimber for musical instruments and poles Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
ConsumablesFruits are consumed by humans Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesSeeds escaped from cultivation Yes Yes Weeds of New Zealand, 2016
Host and vector organismsSeeds eaten and dispersed by birds, bats, and other animals Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive and negative

Impact

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Economic impact

Negative economic impacts of E. japonica arise because it is a host for several fruit-fly species, which cause problems in the cultivation of more economically important fruit such as apples, pears, peaches and plums (Invasive Species South Africa, 2016).

Social impact

Eriobotrya japonica  can have a negative social impact, as the unripe fruits and seeds are poisonous. There have been instances of poisoning in poultry from ingestion of loquat seeds and in goat kids from ingestion of unripe fruits (Morton, 1987; Orwa et al., 2009).

Environmental impact

Negative environmental impacts can arise as a result of Eriobotrya japonica competing with and displacing native vegetation. In Australia, this species is considered an environmental weed, and in Queensland it is ranked among the 200 most important invasive plant species (Weeds of Australia, 2016). E. japonica is also listed as invasive in South Africa where it is invading dry summer-rainfall areas and outcompeting native vegetation. It has become naturalized and invasive in mixed mesic forests and rainforests and along roadsides in Hawaii and on many other islands in the Pacific (PIER, 2016). In New Zealand it is invading hillsides and secondary forests where it competes with and can replace native low canopy and mid-tier species (Weeds of New Zealand, 2016).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Eriobotrya japonica is widely planted as an ornamental tree and for its edible fruits. Loquat produces high levels of nectar with a heavy fragrance and has high honey potential. The fruit can be consumed fresh or processed and can be used for jam, juice, wine, syrup or as candied fruit, and the seeds are used to add an almond-like flavour to drinks and cakes (Hiep and Verheij, 1991). The seeds are rich in starch (20%) and have been used to make wine, and the juice can be used to prepare an alcoholic drink. In India and East Africa this species is commonly grown on the borders of the home compounds and lopped to provide fodder for goats and livestock (Hiep and Verheij, 1991; Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2016). It is also planted as an ornamental tree, hedge tree and shade tree in gardens, highway medians, sidewalks and parks (Gilman et al., 2013). Its wood is pink, hard, close-grained and medium weight, and is highly prized by furniture makers. The wood of the tree is also used to make stringed musical instruments.

The leaves, flowers and fruits are commonly used in traditional Asian medicine, and there is evidence of pharmaceutically active compounds. The ether-soluble fraction of the ethanolic extract of the leaves showed anti-inflammatory activity when applied topically to rats. An alcoholic extract has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic effects. For at least 40 years, Chinese food stores in the USA have sold a product imported from Hong Kong and recommended for chronic bronchitis, coughs and lung congestion. The contents are listed as loquat leaves along with other herbs (Janick and Paull, 2008). The flowers are used as insect repellent and, extracted in oil, in cosmetics (Hiep and Verheij, 1991).

Economic value

Eriobotrya japonica is widely cultivated and its fruits are commercialized around the world. Loquat fruits are produced in quantity in China and Japan. Japan, one of the major producers, reported annual crops ranging from 17,400 to 7000 t in the years 1972-1977 (Hiep and Verheij, 1991).

Social benefit

The fruits of E. japonica are edible and consist of 60-70% pulp. Per 100 g edible portion the fruit contains: 85 g water, 0.4 g protein, 0.05 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g fibre. The potassium content is rather high. The fruit of some cultivars are a good source of vitamin A and pectin. Fruits are also preserved as jam or jelly (Hiep and Verheij, 1991).

Environmental services

The fairly dense crown and a compact trunk make E. japonica useful for shade, barriers, and as a windbreak. Its large leaves are suitable for soil mulch (Orwa et al., 2009).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Shade and shelter
  • Soil improvement
  • Windbreak

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Fruits
  • Honey/honey flora
  • Seeds
  • Spices and culinary herbs

Materials

  • Carved material
  • Cosmetics
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Pesticide
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Christmas tree
  • Cut flower
  • garden plant
  • Potted plant
  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Wood Products

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Boats

Furniture

Roundwood

  • Building poles

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • Engineering structures
  • For light construction

Veneers

Woodware

  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Musical instruments
  • Tool handles
  • Wood carvings

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Physical/mechanical control

Seedlings and small plants of E. japonica can be pulled or dug out by hand (Weeds of New Zealand, 2016).

Chemical control

In Hawaii it has been reported that the application of 20% triclopyr ester product in diesel to cut surfaces is effective to control E. japonica. The same solution applied as basal bark treatment is also effective (Motooka, 2003). In New Zealand the herbicide metsulferon-methyl has been effectively used to control E. japonica (Weeds of New Zealand, 2016).

References

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Distribution References

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05/12/16 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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