Fruit and Vegetables

Japanese medlar - Eriobotrya japonica

Japanese medlar - Eriobotrya japonica

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Eriobotrya japonica is a small evergreen tree originating in China, which can reach 5-6 m in height. It has dark bark, sinuous branches and rounded crown, often open like an umbrella. The leaves are very large, 25-30 cm long and 8-10 cm wide, oval, cuoiose, dark green on the upper side and gray-brown on the lower side. In late autumn it produces bunches of white, delicately scented flowers covered with a thin whitish down. In spring the flowers are replaced by roundish, fleshy, yellow-orange, edible fruits, containing 3-5 brown seeds. It is a plant cultivated for centuries also on the Italian territory, above all in the areas of southern Italy, where temperatures are more suitable.


Eriobotrya japonica prefers positions in full sun or partially shaded; in total shade it develops without problems, but produces very few fruits. The adult specimens do not fear the cold, while the young ones must be protected for one or two winters after planting; the flowers of Japanese medlar they could be damaged by too cold winters, so it is advisable to plant them in positions sheltered from the wind and intense cold. Often, for the cultivation of specimens of this type, the plots of land are protected with windbreaks, so as to prevent the plants of Eriobotrya japonica from being damaged.


The adult plants do not need watering, they are usually satisfied with the water received from the rains; it is advisable to water the specimens just planted and the young plants regularly. In autumn and spring, bury mature organic fertilizer at the foot of the plant. The water supply must be more constant during periods with particularly high temperatures. In the case of planting with several specimens, the preferred technique for watering is the concave technique, which provides for the formation of depressions at the base of the plant, to allow it to absorb water, without however causing the presence of damaging water stagnations because they cause the onset of rot.


It develops without problems in any type of terrain; a loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter will certainly lead to greater fruit production. The plant of Eriobotrya japonica is rather rustic and resistant and is able to adapt even to poorly fertile soils. The ideal substrate should be neutral, with a good quantity of organic substances, which allow a better development of the fruits and a good degree of drainage, a fundamental factor to avoid the formation of stagnation.


It takes place by seed, in autumn, but the plants thus originated will not always produce fruits identical to those of the mother plant, in fact there exist in the market numerous varieties in the summer selected for the quality and the quantity of the fruits; we therefore recommend buying a small plant. If the quality of the fruits is not a priority you can proceed with sowing, even directly at home; the plants of Japanese medlar they grow quite quickly, but when they are small they need regular watering and at least monthly fertilizations, in 4-5 the first fruits will be obtained.

Japanese medlar - Eriobotrya japonica: Pests and diseases

Japanese medlar plants are sometimes affected by a particular bacterial disease, generally called bacterial fire blight, the parts of the plant affected by this disease should be promptly pruned and burned, to prevent the bacteria from spreading. Even scale insects and aphids can hit parts of the plant and must be eliminated to avoid the spread of the problem. On the market there are numerous specific products to be sprayed on the plant, taking care not to exceed the doses, since the fruits are for food consumption.