Eriobotrya japonica. LOQUAT. China
ROSACEAE (Rose family)

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 produces volunteer seedlings is in the northeast intersection of Palm Drive and Arboretum Road. 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.

Illus.: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Illustrations (links open new windows): Silhouettes from Trees of Stanford & its Environs

Additions/Revisions:

Name derivation, genus | species Greek erion (wool) and botrys (cluster of grapes), referring to the wooly inflorescence/fruits | from Japan

Related material: Canopy Trees for Palo Alto Tree Library

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