Eriobotrya japonica
loquat

Rosaceae (rose family)
China
Eriobotrya japonica leaf. From Trees of Stanford and Environs, Ronald Bracewell

Behind the southeast corner of the Main Quad there is a quiet spot, where, at the right season you will find some knowledgeable person eating the loquats. Sometimes the big shiny brown seeds nearly fill the orange-yellow skin of the loquat, which is an inch or more in diameter, but a juicy ripe loquat is very good. The leaves are as much as a foot long, toothed, lens-shaped, and furry beneath. The fruit may have fur too, but it rubs off. Spontaneous seedlings appear freely, for example at the northwest corner of the Faculty Club.

A very large spreading specimen that produced volunteer seedings was in the northeast intersection of Palm Drive and Arboretum Road. Recalled to have occupied that spot since at least the late 1980s, it may have been cut down and regrown at least once, and perhaps several times. In January 2018 it had disappeared. One of the white-fleshed varieties (almost always the sweetest), it was a sparse bearer, and with small fruit, but the fruit were quite good. Commercially, one of the white cultivars is ‘Champagne’.

Using the short cut to Greek mentioned under Melaleuca elliptica look for an English word beginning with erio-. As a matter of fact there is one, and very interesting reading it is too. Furthermore, we find that erion is Greek for wool. By the same method one finds that botrus is Greek for grape: the loquat is a woolly berry! Of course, before popping a loquat in your mouth you have to shine it by rubbing off the fuzz. See Citrus Notes for the Chinese etymology.

Name derivation: Eriobotrya – Greek erion (wool) and botrys (cluster of grapes), referring to the wooly inflorescence/fruits; japonica – from Japan.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Palm Drive location removal noted; additional notes on it added by Sairus Patel, Jan 1018.