Introduction. Loquat shares with other pomes, such as apple
(Malus domestica) and pear (Pyrus communis), flowering habits, but,
in contrast with them, the tree is considered a self-compatible species. However,
when planted in solid blocks under mesh, low fruit set and small fruit size are
often reported. To explore in which way restrictions of bee activity and/or
impediments for cross-pollination can be responsible for low productivity and poor
fruit quality, we carried out controlled pollination on flowers of loquat cv. Algerie.
Materials and methods. A first experiment checked cross-pollination response
by comparing fruit set and quality from self-, open-, and cross-pollinated flowers.
A second experiment explored poor pollination effects by modifying the number of stigmas being
hand cross-pollinated. Results. Cv. Algerie loquat flowers cross-pollinated with
pollen of cvs. `Tanaka' and `Golden Nugget' loquat flowers produced more fruits of higher
quality (larger, heavier and more precocious) than flowers under self-pollination. Benefits
of cross-pollination can be explained by an earlier and higher level of fertilization.
Observations under microscopy showed, however, that self-incompatibility of cv. Algerie
flowers is not complete, and a certain level of self-fertilization occurs. The second
experiment demonstrated that limiting the number of stigmas pollinated resulted in a
significant reduction in the number of seeds formed that, in turn, affected fruit size
and shape. Flowers with only one stigma pollinated seldom formed more than two seeds while
flowers with all five stigmas pollinated produced fruit with an average of four seeds.
Conclusion. Our results emphasize a dependence of cv. Algerie flower pollination on both
adequate activity of pollinator insects and appropriate placement of pollinizers.