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The Medlar fruit is remarkable in that the 5 seed vessels are visible in the eye of the fruit because the fruit is set in the receptacle as in a gaping cup around the rim of which stand 5 conspicuous calyx lobes ("calyx" refers collectively to a flower's sepals). The fruit is rich in sugars (around 11%) and is a good source of potassium, but it is quite low in Vitamin C (2 mg per 100 g). The fruit is usually allowed to become partly rotten, soft and brown, to make it palatable (see Baird and Thieret 1989 for a discussion of the ripening of Medlar fruit). At one time, these fruits were commonly eaten with port wine at the end of a meal. They may be used to make jam. Medlar is a spreading tree that may be shaped somewhat by the wind. The wild tree has thorns, but cultivated forms are thornless. Flowers are borne at the ends of short young shoots in late spring and early summer. (Vaughan and Geissler 1997)
Curiously, an apparent second species in the genus Mespilus was recognized from Arkansas (United States) in 1990 (Phipps 1990; Phipps et al. 1991). However, Lo et al. (2007) have argued that this is probably a nothospecies (i.e., the result of hybridization between two other species) and placed it in the genus Crataegus, along with M. germanica (see Lo et al. 2007 for details).