Subtropical decorative tree (Eriobotrya japonica) can be found in many gardens around the East Bay, but from what I have observed – most trees are possibly seedlings as their fruits are rather small. Many people do not harvest them – I know of several large trees that are only harvested by squirrels. Loquat tree can grow up to 14 to 16 ft tall if not trained. In East Bay area it can be planted in a spot with full sun whole day. The wind can damage leaves which are otherwise very decorative. Loquat, especially young trees, may be damaged by temperatures bellow 32F. To produce big juicy fruit and abundant growth in the area, the irrigation in summer is necessary.
Loquat is one of the first fruits to be harvested in the spring, some varieties actually even in the autumn. Tastes maybe between apricot and apple, but of course depends on the specific variety.
For some strange reason, loquat is not commonly found in the nurseries around the Bay area. Somebody told me that maybe they are not so easy to graft, but I am not sure whether that is the right reason.
I finally got a tip that God’s Little Acre nursery in San Jose might have several varieties I decided to make a trip there. Tip was right – they had three varieties:
- Champaign (white-fleshed)
- Gold Nugget (orange-fleshed)
- Big Jim (orange-fleshed)
[More information about loquat and varieties is available here: https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/loquat.html]
I have opted for Gold Nugget variety.
Only a few weeks later I have discovered that Berkeley horticultural nursery also offers several varieties of loquat.