Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Eriobotrya japonica



Eriobotrya japonica (loquat)


  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2018
  • 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

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report


Top of page
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat); fruiting habit. Lakeland Florida, USA. February 2012.
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.
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


Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl.

Preferred Common Name

  • loquat

Other Scientific Names

  • Mespilus japonica Thunb.
  • Photinia japonica (Thunb.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex Asch.&Sch.

International Common Names

  • English: Japanese medlar; medlar (Japanese)
  • Spanish: nespereira; nispero del Japon; níspero del Japon
  • French: barbassier; bibas; bibassier du Japon; neflier du Japon; néflier du Japon
  • Chinese: biba; luju
  • Portuguese: ameixieira-do-Japao

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: ameixa-amarela; ameixa-do-canadá; ameixa-do-japao; ameixa-japonesa
  • Cambodia: tôn leap
  • Germany: japanische mispel; Japanische Wollmispel; Loquate
  • Indonesia: lokat; lokwat; papalaan
  • Italy: nespolo del Giappone; nispolero
  • Japan: bipa; Japanese plum
  • Malaysia/Peninsular Malaysia: lokwat
  • Netherlands: japaanse Mispelboom
  • 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

Top of page

The following summary is from Witt and Luke (2017):


Evergreen small to medium-sized tree (10 m tall), with a rounded crown; woody at the base, primary stems erect, young stems stout, white and hairy.


China, Japan and Taiwan.

Reason for Introduction

Edible fruit and ornament.


Roadsides, disturbed land and forest edges/gaps.


Loquat seeds germinate readily under or near their parent plants, forming dense stands, to the possible detriment of native plant species.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Eriobotrya is often confused with Mespilus, and sometimes with Crataegus and Photinia. The number of Eriobotrya species is under dispute and the opinions of authors in different countries vary. There are between 15 and 22 species, most of them originating in southern China, the rest in South-East Asia (Janick and Paull, 2008).


Top of page

Eriobotrya japonica is a small evergreen tree, occasionally up to 10 m; shoot density varies with cultivar. Leaves on upper surface usually lustrous, lower surface often with pubescence; blades are narrow or broad, 12-30 cm long and 3-9 cm wide. Inflorescence 10-19 cm long, the main panicle axis bears five to ten branched secondary axes, with 70-100 flowers, occasionally more than 100; hermaphrodite, flower size 12-20 mm. 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).


Top of page

Indigenous to south-eastern China, loquats are 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. Loquats are now distributed in many Asian countries, for example, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, South Korea and Vietnam; in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia; and in the Americas, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the mountains of Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela. Generally, loquats are found between latitudes 20 and 35° north and south but can be cultivated up to latitude 45° under maritime climates (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Distribution Table

Top of page

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.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes


AzerbaijanPresent Planted
CambodiaPresent Planted
ChinaUnconfirmed recordCAB Abstracts
-AnhuiPresentPlanted, Natural
-FujianPresentPlanted, Natural
-GansuPresentPlanted, Natural
-GuangdongPresentPlanted, Natural
-GuangxiUnconfirmed recordPlanted, NaturalCAB Abstracts
-GuizhouPresentPlanted, Natural
-HainanPresent Natural
-HenanPresent Natural
-HubeiPresentPlanted, Natural
-HunanPresentPlanted, Natural
-JiangsuPresentPlanted, Natural
-JiangxiPresentPlanted, Natural
-ShaanxiPresentPlanted, Natural
-SichuanPresentPlanted, Natural
-TibetPresent Natural
-YunnanPresentPlanted, Natural
-ZhejiangPresentPlanted, Natural
IndiaPresent Planted CAB Abstracts
-Indian PunjabUnconfirmed recordCAB Abstracts
IndonesiaPresent Planted
IsraelPresent Planted
-HonshuPresent Natural
-KyushuPresent Natural
-ShikokuPresent Natural
MalaysiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresent Planted
PakistanPresent Planted
TaiwanPresentPlanted, Natural
ThailandPresent Planted
TurkeyPresent Planted
VietnamPresent Planted


AlgeriaPresent Planted
East AfricaPresent Planted
EgyptPresent Planted
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017Naturalized
KenyaPresentIntroduced Invasive CAB Abstracts; Witt and Luke, 2017
RwandaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017Naturalized
South AfricaPresent Planted
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017Naturalized
UgandaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017Naturalized
ZambiaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017Naturalized

North America

MexicoPresent Planted
-CaliforniaPresent Planted
-FloridaUnconfirmed record Planted
-HawaiiPresentCAB Abstracts

South America

ArgentinaUnconfirmed recordCAB Abstracts
BrazilPresent Planted
-ParanaUnconfirmed record
ChileUnconfirmed record Planted CAB Abstracts
PeruPresent Planted


CyprusUnconfirmed record Planted CAB Abstracts
FrancePresent Planted
-CorsicaPresent Planted
GreecePresent Planted
ItalyUnconfirmed record Planted
PolandPresent Planted
SpainPresent Planted
UKPresent Planted


AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-New South WalesPresent Planted
-QueenslandPresent Planted
New ZealandUnconfirmed record Planted CAB Abstracts

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Growth stages and reproduction

Loquat is a 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 Punjab, India, Apis dorsata is the main flower visitor. Other species of insects found occasionally included syrphids, houseflies, Myrmeleontidae, Bombinae and Pieris rapae. Fruit set was 15% greater in unbagged than in bagged flowers.

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). 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. 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, 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 contents increase 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

In China and India, loquats are grown at elevations up to 2000 m. Loquats are grown on hillsides in Japan, to obtain the benefit of good air flow. In more tropical regions, the tree thrives and fruit well at elevations between 900 and 1200 m, but bears little or not at all at lower levels. Winter temperature should be higher than -3°C and summer temperature not over 35°C. 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. Soil should be deep and well drained, with an adequate content of organic matter. Sandy loams or clay loams with a pH of 5.0-8.0 are considered appropriate, with pH 6.0 being optimum (Janick and Paull, 2008).


Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Top of page
Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
33 18 50 2000

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -10
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 25
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 25 32
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 12 15


Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration05number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall8001200mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Summer

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium


Top of page

Fruit can be consumed fresh or processed and can be used for jam, juice, wine, syrup or as candied fruit. Seeds are rich in starch (20%) and have been used to make wine. Loquat is highly nectariforous, with a heavy fragrance and has high honey potential. Its wood is pink, hard, close-grained and medium heavy, and highly prized by furniture makers. Leaves and fruit of loquats have traditionally been considered to have high medicinal value 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).

Uses List

Top of page


  • Agroforestry
  • Shade and shelter
  • Windbreak


  • Fuelwood


  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Fruits
  • Honey/honey flora


  • Carved material
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

Top of page




  • Building poles

Sawn or hewn building timbers

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



  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Tool handles


Top of page

Abbasi, N. A., Tariq Pervaiz, Hafiz, I. A., Mehwish Yaseen, Azhar Hussain, 2013. Assessing the response of indigenous loquat cultivar Mardan to phytohormones for in vitro shoot proliferation and rooting. Journal of Zhejiang University (Science B), 14(9), 774-784. doi: 10.1631/jzus.B1200277

Avidan, B., Klein, I., 2003. Physiological disorders in loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.). Options Méditerranéennes. Série A, Séminaires Méditerranéens, (No.58), 87-95.

Backer CA, Brink RCB van den, 1963. Flora of Java. Vol. 1. Groningen, Netherlands: NVP Noordhoff

California Rare Fruit Growers, 2016. Loquat, Eriobotrya japonica Lindl., Rosaceae.

Chang HC, 1982. A study on the native loquats in Hubei province. J. of Central China Agriculture College, 1:86-92

China Agriculture Press, 1959. China Pomiculure. Beijing, China: China Agriculture Press, 998-1018

Ding CW, 1989. Effect of plant growth regulators on ripening date and quality in loquat. China Fruits, 1:13-15

Gariglio, N. F., Reig, C., Agustí, M., 2008. Assimilate partitioning between the flesh and the rind is responsible for purple spot in loquat fruit. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 83(1), 37-42.

Grassi, A. M., Scarpare Filho, J. A., Chagas, E. A., Pio, R., Sanches, J., Cia, P., Barbosa, W., Tizato, L. H. G., Chagas, P. C., Tomazi, E. F., 2010. Evaluation of thinning intensity on loquat fruit quality. Bragantia, 69(1), 215-220. doi: 10.1590/S0006-87052010000100027

Gugliuzza, G., Militello, M., Mandarano, G., Talluto, G., Farina, V., 2015. Evaluation of seed germination and seedling growth of Sicilian and international loquat cultivars. Acta Horticulturae, (No.1092), 279-282.

Harriman W, 1994. Silvicultural practice in Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl. plantations. New Silviculturist, 12:1-46

Hidajat E, 1979. Papalaan (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.) [Loquat]. Buletin Kebun Raya 4(3):93-95

Hu J, 1983. Relationship between flower bud differentiation and metabolism of some substances in loquat trees. J. of Zhejiang Agriculture University, 9(4):307-314

Huang JS, 1989. The main achievements of scientific research on loquat in forty years. China Fruits, 2:5-8

Jackson, D., Looney, N., Morley-Bunker, M., 2010. Temperate and subtropical fruit production, (Ed.3) : CABI.x + 327 pp.

Janick, J., Paull, R. E., 2008. The encyclopedia of fruit & nuts, CABI.xviii + 954 pp.

Janick, J., Zhang ZhiKe, Lin ShunQuan, 2015. Important world cultivars of loquat. Acta Horticulturae, (No.1092), 25-32.

Kalkman C, 1995. Rosaceae. In Flora Malesiana Series 1. Vol. 11(2):227-351. Foundation Flora Malesiana. Leiden, Netherlands: Riksherbarium/Hortus Botanicus

Krüssmann G, 1976. Manual of cultivated broad-leaved trees and shrubs, Vol. I-III. Beaverton, OR, USA: Timber Press

Liu TS, 1962. Illustrations of Native and Introduced Ligneous Plants of Taiwan. Taipei, Taiwan: National Taiwan University Press, 301

Maslin L, 1994. Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl. in agroforestry. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press

Morton, J. F., 1987. Fruits of warm climates, J.F. Morton.517 pp.

Parra, S., Hueso, J. J., Cuevas, J., 2013. High density loquat orchards increase profits and shorten the time for investment returns. Acta Horticulturae, (No.975), 601-606.

Porter F, 1990. A review of Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl. Spencer. Journal of Plant Systematics, 20:12-40

Qiu CZ, Sun YW, 1990. Pomology. Beijing, China: China Agriculture Press, 405-407

Quiñones, A., Soler, E., Legaz, F., 2013. Determination of foliar sampling conditions and standard leaf nutrient levels to assess mineral status of loquat tree. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 36(2), 284-298. doi: 10.1080/01904167.2012.739248

Schneider, D., Goldway, M., Stern, R. A., 2011. Difference in self-fertilization efficiency among three loquat cultivars. Acta Horticulturae, (No.887), 209-213.

Singh, U. S., Lal, R. K., 1990. Investigations of hunger signs in loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). Narendra Deva Journal of Agricultural Research, 5(1), 101-109.

Sosef MSM, Hong LT, Prawirohatmodjo S, eds, 1998. Plant resources of southeast Asia. Timber trees: lesser-known timbers. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers, 5(3)

Thompson, A. K., 2010. Controlled atmosphere storage of fruits and vegetables, (Ed.2) : CABI.xvi + 272 pp. doi:10.1079/9781845936464.0000

USDA, 2016. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.

Verheij EWM, Coronel RE(Editors), 1991. Plant resources of South-East Asia. No. 2. Edible fruits and nuts. Wageningen, Netherlands; Pudoc, 446 pp

Wang HZ, 1985. Seed collection and nursery practice of the main Chinese tropical and subtropical trees. China: People's Publishing House, pp. 261

Witt, A., Luke, Q., 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa, [ed. by Witt, A., Luke, Q.]. Wallingford, UK: + 601 pp. doi:10.1079/9781786392145.0000

Wu GM, 1984. China Pomological Taxonomy in temperate zone. Beijing, China: China Agriculture Press, 458-470

Xiao GG(Chief Editor), 1991. Forest insects of China. Beijing, China; China Forestry Publishing House, Ed. 2:vi + 1362 pp

Xiao GG(Chief Editor), 1991. Forest insects of China. Beijing, China; China Forestry Publishing House, Ed. 2:vi + 1362 pp

Yang CY, 1963. The flowering features of the cold-resistant varieties of loquat. Acta Horticulture. 2(1):83-84

Yang YQ, 1983. A study on tissue culture and inducement of proliferation from shoot apexes of loquat tree. Acta Horticulture Sinica, 10(2):79-86

Yu DJ, 1979. China pomological taxonomy. Beijing, China: China Agriculture Press

Yu HM, 1985. Variety investigation of Santan loquat in Anhui. Journal of Anhui Agriculture College, 2:96-104

Zhang HZ, 1990. The germplasm resources of the genus Eriobotrya with special reference on the origin of E. japonica Lindl. Acta Horticulturae Sinica, 17(1):5-12

Zheng WJ, 1985. Sylva Sinica. Vol. 2. Beijing, China: Chinese Forestry Publishing House

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map