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Mespilus - Growing Guide
Growing Medlar Trees
Commonly known as Mespilus germanica
Mespilus are a genus of a single species (M. germanica) which is allied to crataegus and cotoneaster but distinguished by their large solitary flowers and distinctive edible fruits.
Medlars are native to Europe and can be found growing wild in woodland in Sussex and Kent. In more recent times medlars have been bred and cultivated to increase the size and quality of their fruits. The varieties we offer are well established fruiting trees which will perform at a very young age. Unlike older wild forms they do not have any thorns!
M. germanica grows into a small spreading tree of up to 20ft. Its solitary white or slightly pink tinged flowers appear in May or early June. Thereafter smallish apple-like fruits appear in such profusion that we have found our trees falling over with the weight of fruit unless adequate staking is in place from the outset.
The fruits are russet brown, around 2in across, and do not become properly ripe until late autumn when the first frosts arrive. You can pick the fruits in October and store them alongside your apples in a cool fruit store. As they become mushy and almost rotten they are ripe enough to eat. The traditional term for this is ‘bletted’. Not a taste to many people’s liking perhaps but you do now regularly see the fruits for sale in supermarkets. The more traditional use of medlar fruit is in jelly where it is rather more palatable.
Perhaps a tree to include in your orchard for a bit of variation?