Medlar Vs Loquat: A Comparative Exploration Of Two Unique Fruits

Medlar and Loquat fruits, although not as widely recognized as some of their counterparts, possess a charm and flavor that often captivates those who have experienced their delights. The medlar, with its russet-like appearance and custardy texture, and the loquat, with its vibrant color and juicy, tangy flavor, both offer a sensory adventure for fruit enthusiasts. As we delve into the realm of medlars vs loquats, we embark on a comparative journey that unveils the similarities, differences, and individual characteristics of these unique fruit trees.

Medlar Vs Loquat – Similarities And Differences

Medlar Vs Loquat – Similarities And Differences

Both medlar and loquat are fruit-bearing trees, but they belong to different plant families and have distinct characteristics. 

Medlar, are a fruit often associated with ancient traditions and cultural symbolism. With its gnarled branches and spreading habit, the medlar tree is reminiscent of an enchanted entity in the garden. 

The medlar fruits flavor profile resembles a delightful fusion of apple, pear, and citrus, that only takes on its full potential when it reaches the bletted stage, transforming into a luscious, custard-like delicacy. 

The loquat (Japanese Medlar), is a fruit originating from the distant lands of Eastern Asia and is revered for its refreshing qualities. 

It bears larger fruits than the medlar and they are smooth, with vibrant skin ranging from yellow to orange. Biting into a ripe loquat unveils a delightful amalgamation of flavors, blending the sweetness of peach, the tanginess of citrus, and the subtle hints of apricot. 


The medlar tree (Mespilus germanica) belongs to the family Rosaceae.

The loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) belongs to the family Rosaceae as well.

Tree Characteristics

Medlar trees are deciduous and grow up to 20 feet tall. They have a dense, spreading habit with gnarled branches and a somewhat bushy appearance.

Loquat trees are evergreen reaching heights of up to 30 feet. They have a rounded canopy with broad, leathery leaves.

Fruit Appearance

Medlar fruit is small to medium-sized, usually around 1 to 2 inches in diameter. It has a rounded shape with rough, brownish skin similar to that of a russet apple.

Loquat fruit is slightly larger, typically 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches in diameter. It has an oval or pear-like shape with smooth, thin, and yellow to orange skin.

Fruit Flavor and Texture

Medlars have a unique flavor rather like a combination of apple and pear, with citrus notes. They are usually consumed when overripe or “bletted” to soften the flesh and develop a sweet, custard-like texture.

Loquat fruits have a sweet and tangy flavor similar to a blend of peach, citrus, and mild apricot. The flesh is juicy and soft with a slightly grainy texture.

Harvesting and Consumption

Medlar fruits can be left on the tree to ripen fully. They are harvested when they become soft and bletted, which occurs after frost in late fall or early winter. They can also be bletted after harvesting and are consumed when their flesh turns mushy.

Loquat fruits are harvested when they reach their full size and color, typically in late winter or early spring. They can be eaten fresh, like other fruits, by peeling off the skin and removing the seeds.

Geographic Distribution

Medlar trees are native to regions of Europe, including the Mediterranean, but are also cultivated in other parts of the world with suitable climates.

Loquat trees are native to Eastern Asia and are widely cultivated in subtropical and mild temperate regions globally.

Which Tree Is Easier To Grow The Medlar Or The Loquat?

Both the Medlar and Loquat trees are relatively easy to grow, but they have a few different requirements.

The medlar tree (Mespilus germanica) is generally easier to grow in terms of its adaptability to different environments. It is more tolerant of colder temperatures and can thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. 

It prefers full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. Medlar trees are deciduous and have a spreading habit, which can make them suitable for smaller gardens or containers.

The loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) is also relatively easy to grow, but it is more limited in its adaptability to colder climates. It is best suited for USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10, as it requires milder temperatures and protection from frost. 

Loquat trees prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. They are evergreen with broad, leathery leaves and grow larger than Medlar trees, reaching heights of up to 30 feet.

Find out more about how to grow loquat trees in this video:

What Is A Loquat Fruit Called In English? 

Loquat fruit is known by various alternative names depending on the region and language. Some of the common alternative names for loquat fruit include:

  • Japanese Medlar – This name reflects its scientific name, Eriobotrya japonica, and is often used due to the fruit’s origins in parts of Japan.
  • Chinese Plum – The loquat fruit is sometimes referred to as the Chinese plum, highlighting its Asian origins and its resemblance to plums in terms of shape and color.
  • Nispero – In Spanish-speaking countries, the loquat is known as “nispero.” This name is also used in some English-speaking regions influenced by Spanish culture.
  • Biwa – In Japan, the loquat fruit is sometimes called “biwa,” which is derived from the Japanese word for the fruit.
  • Pipa – In certain Asian countries, particularly in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the loquat is known as “pipa,” which is a term that translates to “loquat” in English.

These alternative names reflect the global reach of the loquat fruit and the cultural diversity surrounding its cultivation and consumption.

What Is The English Name For Medlar Fruit?

Medlar fruit is known by a few alternative names, although they are less commonly used they include:

  • Mespilus – The medlar fruit is often referred to by its scientific genus name, Mespilus, which is derived from the Latin name for the tree.
  • Openarse – An archaic and somewhat humorous alternative name for the medlar fruit. It originates from the Old English word “open-ars,” which literally means “open arse.” This name refers to the characteristic appearance of the fruit when it is ripe and has split open at the end.
  • Dog’s Bottom – Another colloquial and lighthearted alternative name for the medlar fruit is “dog’s bottom.” This name also alludes to the appearance of the fruit when it is fully ripened and has a wide, open end.

While these alternative names may not be as widely recognized or used as “medlar,” they showcase the playful and descriptive nature of the fruit’s appearance, adding a touch of whimsy to its character.

Medlar is also known by different names in various countries and regions around the world. Here are some of the names used for Medlar fruit in different languages and countries:

  • Spain – Níspero alemán
  • Italy – Nespolo comune or Nespolo del Giappone
  • France – Néflier commun
  • Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark – Mispel 
  • Portugal – Nêspera
  • Finland – Mesimarja
  • Poland – Pigwa japońska

While these names generally refer to the Medlar fruit, there may be slight variations or regional differences in terminology. The Medlar fruit has its own unique identity and cultural significance across different countries, adding to its diversity and global recognition.


The Medlar and Loquat are two unique fruits with distinct characteristics and flavors. 

The Medlar, with its custard-like texture and apple-pear-citrus fusion, captivates with its ancient traditions and enchanting appearance. 

The Loquat, known for its refreshing qualities, offers a delightful blend of peach, citrus, and mild apricot flavors. 

While both trees are generally easy to grow, the Medlar tree is more cold-hardy and can thrive in a wider range of USDA zones (5 to 9), whereas the Loquat tree requires a milder climate and is typically grown in USDA zones 8 to 10.

These fruits, though lesser-known, bring a sensory adventure to fruit enthusiasts and are celebrated in various cultures worldwide.

Learn more about the huge variety of fruit trees you could try growing by reading our large range of articles.

1 thought on “Medlar Vs Loquat: A Comparative Exploration Of Two Unique Fruits”

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