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PacificEdge | February 26, 2017

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A fine fruit — pity about the fly

A fine fruit — pity about the fly
Russ Grayson

A Tasmanian journey…

WE followed the directions to the cabin, and there it was. But what was more interesting was the tree that grew next to it. It was a loquat tree and its yellow fruit were just coming into ripeness.

The evergreen loquat tree here in St Helens is almost six metres in height with long, curved, dark and glossy lanceolate leaves. Fortunately for Tasmanians, the fruit is free from the fruit fly that can infest it in warm temperate to tropical mainland climates. The insect does not occur in these cool temperate parts.

LOQUAT AS A FRUIT FLY VECTOR

Walk along older Sydney streets and you occasionally encounter Loquat planted long ago as a home garden tree. I suspect the knowledge that these are edible fruit left with the families that planted them as many seem to go unharvested. You also find loquat planted as a Sydney street tree. There’s two close to where I live.

Whenever I encounter loquat growing under these circumstances I imagine them to be fruit fly vectors from which the insects spread out to infect the fruit trees of home growers. That might be a pessimistic attitude, however I believe it is a potentially accurate one.

A FRUIT WITH FARMING POTENTIAL?

There must be a small number of farmers growing loquat for the market as I have seen punnets of the fruit on sale in a Sydney greengrocer. I wonder if there would be potential to expand the number of growers if a publicity campaign were run to popularise the fruit? I recall, perhaps two years ago, that there was a campaign to popularise a South American fruit whose name eludes me but was something like arachaya (anyone got any clues as to the actual name of this fruit?). Perhaps a similar campaign for loquat would add something new to the Australian fruit bowl.

Because this is a fruit fly prone fruit it may be of greater potential to growers in southern Victoria and, especially, Tasmania, so as to avoid application of whatever synthetic chemical is used to control the fly.

I find this a tasty fruit. I hope you do too.

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Comments

  1. Dalila Rendon

    Good afternoon Mr. Grayson,

    I am a researcher at Macquarie University, and I am looking for loquat trees around Sydney to collect fruit flies. Can you tell me where did you find these ones? Thanks.

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