This medium-sized evergreen tree native to China and Japan is an attractive ornamental dual purpose tree with edible fruit. It has large prominently veined leaves that are dark green on the top with a downy rust-colored underside. The glossy leaves are usually borne in whorls and are stiff, thick and glossy. Panicles of small white fragrant flowers are produced in fall and give way to clusters of small oval to round and pear-shaped fruit that contain 1 to 10 seeds and ripen in late winter and early spring to yellow or orange. The fruits are difficult to harvest because of though stalk that attaches them to the tree. They are very acid and cause pucker if picked green but develop a delicious flavor when ripe. Plants are attractive landscape specimens but can be trained as a ground cover or espalier by heavy pruning. Its shallow root system requires shallow cultivation. Over 800 cultivars have been developed.
Type: Evergreen tree
Outstanding Features: Fruits; leaves
Form: Upright with broad, round crown
Growth Rate: Moderate
Bloom: Panicles of small, white, fragrant flowers in fall are followed by small, edible, yellow to orange fruits in late winter and early spring.
Size: 10-30’ H x 8’-10’ W
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained; tolerates alkaline soil
Hardiness: Zones 8-10 but does not bloom or set fruit in the northern parts of its range.
Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to many pests and diseases including blights, cankers, rots, leaf spot, aphids, scale, and birds. Fireblight can be a especially troublesome.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings
‘Gold Nugget’ (sweeter than ‘Champagne’)
‘Champagne’ (prolific, delicious fruit).