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Néflier du Japon (Eriobotrya japonica) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Christophe Joulin
Néflier du Japon (Eriobotrya japonica) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Christophe Joulin

Japanese Medlar

The Loquat is a tree bearing fruit that tastes like a combination of peach, lemon and mango. This species is native to Japan and China.

Identity Card

Common name
Japanese Medlar, Loquat, Chinese plum
Binominal name
Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl.


Mespilus japonica Thunb.

Detailed Informations

Area of origin
Japon, Chine


Eriobotrya means “woolly (erion in Greek) bunch of fruits (botrys in Greek)”. Japonica indicates that the species is from Japan.

Description and flowering period

This is an upright fruit tree which can reach up to 10 meters in height, but more commonly about 4 meters. Its alternate simple leaves are persistent, deeply veined and have slightly toothed margins. Its flowers are white, almond scented and bloom in pyramidal clusters in early winter. The fruits are harvested in late spring. They are ovoid, orange-blushed yellow in colour. The flesh, reminiscent of peach, citrus and mango is rich in calcium and vitamin C.


A well-drained soil, sheltered location and warm temperatures are sufficient for it to flourish. It is hardy to -12°C.


  • Food & drink: The fruit can be eaten raw or used in jams and preserves or used to make wine.
  • Medicinal: In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to treat coughs, breathing difficulties and is also recommended for a certain number of skin diseases. The leaves and seeds however, are toxic if ingested in large quantities.
  • Ornamental: In temperate climates, its main use is solely ornamental.


Although the species is thought to be from China, it has been cultivated in Japan for over a thousand years. Japan is still today the lead producer of loquats followed by Israel and Brazil. It is also widely cultivated around the Mediterranean, throughout the south of the USA and Australia. There are now nearly 800 cultivars (varieties obtained in cultivation).

Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN

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