THE LOQUAT (Eriobotrya japonica)
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While loquat trees are not endemic to Bermuda, they have grown on island since the 1800s when introduced by Governor William Reid (1839-1845), who was familiar with the plant in Malta and brought seeds to the island.
A Japanese plant known botanically as Eriobotrya japonica, it is a member of the rose family. The green shiny leaves are medicinal, but Bermudians are largely familiar with loquat trees from when they climbed them in their school days and plucked the fleshy fruits to snack upon. The fruits which flourish from February through April also are used to make jam, chutney and a delicious liquer.
Their color ranges from light yellow to a peachy color depending how ripe they are as well as the variety of plant. There are 4 distinctive brown seeds that are easily squeezed out (and should be as they are poisonous if swallowed in large quantities.)
These beautiful yellow berries add color to Bermuda’s botanical palette of roadside hedges, shrubs and trees such as hibiscus, oleander, morning glory and frangipani.