Saturday, April 11, 2009

Botanical Gems of Leucadia: Part III

Loquats


Leucadia is just about a gardener's paradise. We have a very mild climate, with a warm summer and a cool winter with rare occurrences of hard frosts. We can grow plants from the tropics or temperate climates without much fuss. Consequently, a drive around Leucadia will reveal a huge diversity of fruit trees.

One fruit tree that we are well suited to grow is the loquat. The loquat doesn't like to be exposed to extremes, so we are just right. You'll even find loquats growing as volunteers all over Leucadia. You'll see them now that I pointed this out. Many of our yards are comfortably wild.

Loquats are relatively drought tolerant. They won't produce as much fruit without some supplemental watering but they can handle the tap getting turned back. They will hang out and wait for the good times to return.

Loquats aren't a good commercial fruit. They have a few big seeds in the middle, but you can still eat them out of hand no problem. There are white fleshed and orange/yellow fleshed varieties. I've had a few unnamed orange varieties (from Leucadia) that taste like they are a candied fruit. The whites that I've had from around here tend to have deeper and juicer flesh. The shelf life of loquat is super short so you got to eat it right away. This precludes this fruit from sitting on a grocer's shelf. They also seem to bruise easily, so they don't transport well.

All the more, that makes the loquat another special part of living in Leucadia.

For more on loquat: Fruit Facts.

(If you have a good loquat, please let me know if I can have a few branches to graft onto my trees.)

7 comments:

  1. Crazy, I was just thinking about Loquats yesterday. There was a pretty good on my street when I was kid in the Flats. Half the time the fruit was eaten and other half they were projectile weapons.

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  2. I was thinking about loquats too. My neighbor up the street in Cardiff has a tree loaded with fruit, some hanging over the fence. I was thinking about snagging a few. I loved them as a kid.

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  3. I've been eating them all week - right off the tree and in the morning oatmeal. Nom nom nom. Feral food!

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  4. My sister Cindy planted a loquat seed in our front yard in the early 70's. The large tree it became is still doing well, despite neighbors chopping two thirds of it away for condos, children picking unripend fruit for fun and the county dying to tear it down. Well, that's the feeling I get anyway because they hang a "white fly trap" in it every year hoping to catch one.
    They've been pretty unhappy so far.
    Mom makes GREAT jam with them.

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  5. - the loquats, not the white flys.

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  6. I take the ripe fruit, peel them, remove the seeds and then freeze in small containers to be used in fruit smoothies. A bit laborious, but a very yummy way to use up all the fruit.

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  7. Olha, as nesperas. <"Oh, look at the loquats!"> (That is what I heard the old ladies in Lisbon saying to each other when they walked by the yard of the house I was living in years ago. You could hear the admiration and nostalgia in their voices.) Loquats are probably my third favorite fruit after blood oranges and Rainier cherries.

    I concur with Surfy Surfy's account of the edible/weaponizing potential of loquats. My neighbors in the cul-de-sac where I grew up in Leucadia had a loquat tree and it was the source of weapons for some epic battles.

    Squeezing the dark brown slippery seeds between your fingers and shooting them at your friends . . .

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