I know I have been here over a year now because everywhere the Loquat trees are full of delicious and ripening fruit. This was my first free food discovery here in America and, having tasted them, I could not believe that so many local trees were left un harvested. There are many ways of serving these little fruits, I like the idea of preserves eaten on hot buttered toast, but they are delicious eaten, just picked, from the tree. There are at 2 trees at Leu Gardens which are bearing fruit and another one the Bronze Loquat, Eriobotrya deflexa which is only a small immature tree but is already very handsome with beautiful big serrated leaves. This variety will only have small fruit but the leaves are magnificent.
The Loquat I have drawn is Eriobotrya japonica also known as the Japanese medlar, or in Spain as the Nispero. The name is derived from "erion" which is Greek for wool and "botrus" for grape, which quite neatly describes the fuzziness of the stems, leaves and sometimes the fruit too. I wrote about it last year here so I won't repeat myself, only to say that if you haven't tried them you really must!
I picked a few fruit a couple of days ago but when I went back many had been eaten or picked, here is one of the culprits.
Loquats are very delicate and pulling them off the stem bruises the fruit. You have to eat them, (or draw them) quickly, as they don't last. The one I cut open was beautifully juicy but browned quickly as I was drawing it. The thin skin of the fruit is yellow or orange, sometimes tinged with red and there are the remains of some flowers on the slightly fuzzy stem. Inside are up to 5 large brown seeds that have a golden sheen to them.
The Loquat or Nispero