The loquat is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, a native to the cooler hill regions of south-central China. It is a large evergreen shrub or tree, grown commercially for its yellow fruit, and also cultivated as an ornamental plant.
Eriobotrya japonica is a large evergreen shrub or small tree, with a rounded crown, short trunk and woolly new twigs. The tree can grow to 5–10 metres (16–33 ft) tall, but is often smaller, about 3–4 metres (10–13 ft). The fruit begins to ripen during spring to summer depending on the temperature in the area. Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 centimetres (1–2 in) long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar. The loquat has a high sugar, acid and pectin content. It is eaten as a fresh fruit and mixes well with other fruits in fresh fruit salads or fruit cups. The fruits are also commonly used to make jam, jelly and chutney, and are often served poached in light syrup. Firm, slightly immature fruits are best for making pies or tarts.