University of California

Morphology of the flower and fruit of the loquat


Robert M. Smock

Author Affiliations

Robert M. Smock was Junior Pomologist in the Experiment Station.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 10(15):613-632. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v10n15p613. May 1937.

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The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), indigenous to China, is grown more or less extensively in California, Florida, and the Gulf States. Eriobotrya japonica is in the family Rosaceae, subfamily Pomoideae. The Greek translation of Eriobotrya—“woolly inflorescence”—well depicts the extremely hairy condition of buds, flowers, fruits, and leaves. In China the loquat is called “rush orange.”

Bailey(1)4 describes the tree as small and evergreen with leaves “elliptical to oblong-ovate, nearly sessile, and remotely toothed.” The small, white flowers are borne in woolly panicles 4 to 7 inches long (fig. 1). Development of the panicle is acropetal. The flower panicles are terminal on the current season’s growth. Growth extension occurs from terminal leaf buds on nonfruiting branches and from the distal lateral leaf bud on fruiting branches. The flowers are pentamerous, and each of the five carpels contains two ovules; ordinarily only one to eight seeds develop. Seedless varieties, though sometimes reported, are of no commercial importance. Condit(2) has described climatic adaptations, culture, and varieties of the loquat.

This paper presents the results of a study of the morphology of the loquat flower and fruit.

Materials and Methods

Loquat buds, flowers, and fruits were collected at weekly intervals during the 1934-35 season from a tree of the Advance variety on the University Farm at Davis, California.

The extremely hairy condition of the buds made paraffin sectioning difficult. Celloidin, double infiltration as described by De Zeeuw.(3) butyl alcohol, and glycerine-butyl alcohol were therefore employed as softening agents in attempts to avoid tearing of sections.

Literature Cited

[1] Bailey L. H. Standard cyclopedia of horticulture. 1914. 6: N. Y.: The Macmillan Company. 3042p.

[2] Condit I. J. The loquat. California Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1915. 250:251-284.

[3] Dáe Zeeuw R. The value of double infiltration in botanical microtechnique. Papers Mich. Acad. Sci. 1921. 1:83-84.

[4] Kraus E. J., Ralston G. S. The pollination of pomaceous fruits. III. Gross vascular anatomy of the apple. Oregon Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1916. 138:1-20.

[5] Moffett A. A. The chromosome constitution of the Pomoideae. Proc. Royal Soc. Botany. 1931. 108:423-446. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1931.0049 [CrossRef]

Smock R. 1937. Morphology of the flower and fruit of the loquat. Hilgardia 10(15):613-632. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v10n15p613
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