Fond of them anyhow

Nobody ever seems to decide to grow them deliberately. Few even eat the fruit, finding it to be too sweet, but those who do enjoy loquats beg permission to try to beat the birds to them.

They’ve been there for years and years and years. Other yards have loquats, too. In one of those giant freezes a couple of decades ago, the 30-foot specimens froze completely and had to be chopped down, but they’ve grown back almost as tall from the roots.

In November, the peak of bloom in most years, the air is filled with the cloying and pervasive smell of the flowers. This year, it was cold enough at a particular time so that some blossoms dropped and did not go on to form fruit. It has subsequently been cold enough a couple of times so that some of the fruits in formation have dropped from the trees and will not go on to maturity and ripeness.

That’s just fine. The last two years the loquats have been extremely productive. After every rain there are a couple of hundred seedlings, joining the mimosa and pecan offspring that must be pulled from the ground in such numbers.

Some people keep them trimmed to shrubbery. I just try to pull out as many seedlings as I can find. When the fruits ripen, the jays, grackles, and orchard orioles fall on them from the skies. The squirrels, opossums, raccoons, and foxes work on them through the night.

Even so, in a prolific year, there are so many that hundreds fall to the ground and begin to ferment, so that the air is filled with a winey aroma.

Loquats are evergreen, which means that they drop their leaves a few at a time, all year long. Each leaf seems as large as a tobacco leaf. A&M reports that an older tree can easily produce 100 pounds of fruit.

Yikes! And our elderly neighbor who used to preserve them, as she did figs from our yard, is no longer with us.

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