Medlar, Mespilus germanica

shrub of the Rosaceae family, subfamily Malaceae
(Hawthorn, Snowy Mespilus, Hawthorn, Quince tree, Medlar, Pear tree, Apple tree, Rowan).

Etymology: from the Low Latin mespilus, diverted from a Greek word. For the Greeks, there was not specific term to differentiate the apple, the medlar and the quince. This family is characterised by fleshy fruits, with skin and calyx (shriveled remains of the sepals, style and stamens of the flower), containing pips (which are seeds).
Origin : Middle East hence it was introduced into Europe, in the IId century before J.C. The Medlar of Japan resembles it, but it was not classified in the same family.
Habitat : it supports the sour fields. It resists severe cold (-20°C).
Height: 4-6 m (shrub).
Short and tortuous trunk.
Bark shedding in flakes ruddy reddish-brown.

Deciduous foliage. Leaves elliptical alternate (15 cm), curled (embossed), hirsute on the underside, with fine teeth. They resemble that of the quince tree a bit, because they both are curled. The last is rather oval, and less long.

Its flower has 5 big white petals (D 3 cm), in May. This variety is autofecund and does not need other trees to be pollinated.
Its fruit, the medlar, stands at the top of the twig . It matures from July, but it is edible only overripe, after the first frosts (which soften it). The first true harvest is made at the end of three years.

Advices: The medlar makes only to shape him. It flourishes and fructifies copiously without pruning it every year.
Use: the suckering of medlar is traditionally used in the Basque Country to make the makila or makhila, Basque traditional stick, which is a decorative and an utilitarian object at the same time (as a cane). Incises one on foot in the medlar shoot and cut when its diameter attained near a centimetre. The honour makila is adorned with a silver knob or in nickel silver, engraved in the name of the beneficiary. It is a prestigious and rare present because its manufacture is limited. To know more about it...


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