The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Loquat

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LOQUAT lō'kwat, or JAPAN PLUM, a shrub or small tree (Eriobotrya japonica) of the family Malaceæ. It attains heights of about 20 feet, bears thick evergreen leaves near the ends of the branches, and fragrant, woolly, whitish flowers in terminal panicles in late summer and autumn, followed by downy, yellow, oval or pyriform fruits (pomes) which ripen in very early spring. The fruits, which in favorable climates are borne in profusion, are highly esteemed for their sub-acid flesh and their pleasantly flavored seeds, the former being used as a dessert, the latter for flavoring cookery. The tree is a native of Japan and China, whence it has been taken to subtropical climates throughout the world. In the Gulf States and in California it is widely popular as a home fruit, though it appears in Northern markets. In California several highly improved varieties were produced during the closing decade of the last century. In the North it is often grown in conservatories.