European loquat characteristics

Characteristics of Mespilus germanica

What is an European loquat tree?

Common name: European medlar, common medlar or medlar

Note: there are two species of loquats. The most popular is the Japanese loquat, which is the species Eriobotrya japonica. There is also the European loquat, common medlar or European medlar, which is explained in this botanical sheet.

Botanical classification





Vasculant plants



Seed plants



Flowering plants















M. germanica

Description of European loquat

European loquat or European medlar (Mespilus germanica) is a deciduous tree that is used as ornamentals for its attractive foliage, along with cultivated for the production of fruit. In Spanish, it is called nisperero europeo.

This fruit tree belongs to the Rosaceae family, being related to apple, hawthorn and blackthorn.

Long-lived, slow-growing tree, measuring between 7 and 8 m. high and 4 m. wide.

Robust trunk, grayish brown bark, sometimes with thorns. The trunk branches at the crown, which is conical in shape. The branches are hairy when young.

Leaves large, short stalked, long elliptical and dull green; with gray tomentose underside. Serrated margins. It is used in ornamentation for its showy leaves, which turn orange and yellow in autumn.

Flowers are large, 3-5cm. in diameter, solitary, white. They are white or yellow in color, without a peduncle, and their sepals stand out, which are visibly longer than the petals.

Hermaphrodite flowers that are pollinated by insects. This tree attracts many garden fauna: bees, meliponids, butterflies, flies, wasps and ants.

It blooms in the second half of May.

The fruits are drupes, also known as loquats. They are between 1 and 3 cm in size. in diameter, globular or pyriform in shape, with hairiness. Persistent sepals in the fruit.

The fruits do not always ripen when grown in cold areas. It is harvested in late autumn, and can be preserved for a long time, with the stems facing up, until the point of ripening in which the pulp acquires a brownish color and a very sweet flavor.

Inside the fruit, there are 5 hard seeds, elongated and brown.

Pictured: illustration of European loquat

Marked: (1) leaf; (2) flower; (3) petal

(4) stamen with anther or pollen sac

(5) flower cross section

Parts used

  • Fruits: The fruits are edible and have a pleasant flavor when ripe. Currently this species has been displaced from the markets by the Japanese loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). It has medicinal properties.

*More information: see Medicinal properties of the loquat in the following list.

  • Bark: It can be a substitute for quinine, although it is not used. The wood is hard and flexible.
  • Seeds: They are toxic due to their hydrocyanic acid content.
Fruits of the European loquat
European loquat fruits

punto rojo More information on loquats

This article was endorsed by Julián Masats - Technical agricultural engineer specialized in horticulture and gardening.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

27 February, 2024

Other interesting articles

This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical-online" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.