Saturday, February 7

Following the medlar

Back in 2006 we planted a medlar tree in our garden.  Although this is still a baby in tree terms, it is this tree that I have chosen to follow this year.

To give it the correct Latin name Mespilus germanica, is an ancient tree that may date back 3000 years. It’s origins have been traced back to Iran where there are records of it growing in 2 BC. It was also cultivated by the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

The fruits are referred to in several of Shakespeare’s plays and the writings of Chaucer. It was popular in Victorian times.

Nowadays the tree is less common. It can be found growing wild in south west Asia and south eastern Europe in particular around the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria and Turkey.

It is also found in Southern Europe and the south east of England where it has been planted in woodland areas. It isn’t commonly seen in gardens although we saw a couple of specimens when we visited the National Trust property of Belton House gardens in the Midlands.
Medlars have a lifespan of 30 -50 years and grown on their own rootstock can achieve a height of 8 metres.

Our tree - a variety called Nottingham - is grafted onto a quince rootstock so could ultimately reach 4 metres if we let it. It is more likely that we will prune it to restrict its size,

Medlars and quince belong to the rose family as does the hawthorn (crataegus) with which it has crossed to produce xCrataemespilus grandiflora which was first found about 1800 growing wild in France.

Now to introduce our medlar which is about 10 years old.
It is just under 2 metres (6') tall and at the moment looks rather uninteresting but hopefully I will show you how this will change over the coming season.




 This year I am linking to other tree followers over at Loose and Leafy.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

34 comments:

  1. Nice to see the beautiful gardens and explore new trees and plants !
    Great post and pictures !
    Have a happy weekend !

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  2. I expect the reason why Medlars are not popular in domestic gardens is that people do not understand how to prepare and use their fruit. The only places I have seen them are NT properties and suchlike.

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    1. They are worthy ornamentals though, Mark

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  3. That is one fruit I hadn't heard of before. I always find it fascinating what things make it to the commercial market and what fruits/veg are ignored.

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    1. I can't see there being a demand for medlar fruit, Daphne

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  4. Lovely to see your 'Nottingham' medlar. Is a medlar more like a damson than a quince, I wonder?

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    1. Hi Caroline they're not like either really they quite are quite unique,

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  5. I wonder if the failing popularity of this once popular fruit is due to the appearance of the ripe fruit? I know someone who cut down a medlar because of the 'rotten fruits' it bore! Such a sad waste.

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    1. We grow it as an ornamental Deborah. The fruit is challenging.

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  6. I muddle medlars and quinces - and didn't know either that they belong to the rose family or that hawthorn does too. I simply wouldn't have guessed.

    (I've added location and Latin to your details on the Loose and Leafy Tree Following Page. Perhaps you might check I've got them right?)
    http://looseandleafy.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-is-tree-following-and-list-of-tree.html

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    1. We have both medlar and quince Lucy and you certainly wouldn't mix up the fruits. Will check.

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  7. I don't know much at all about medlars so it will be interesting to watch it through the year.

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  8. Looking forward to hearing more about this tree through the year as I think they are very attractive trees, especially when they are in blossom. Catherine

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    1. Hi Catherine I'll be ready with my camera as soon as the first flower appears.

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  9. Medlar isn't popular here as well because it's not hardy and dies in frost winter. I've eaten it fruit in Spain and I liked it and think is very similar to apricot. Isn't it Sue?

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    1. I wonder whether you are thinking if something else Nadezda as the medlar is very hardy and the fruit isn't at all like an apricot. Maybe later in the season all will become cleat :)

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  10. They're lovely trees aren't they, there's one in a garden along the end of our road. I can't say that the fruit appeals to me though, although I've never tried it. I think Mespilus germanica must be latin for monkey's bottom.

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  11. I am quite unfamiliar with Medlar trees and their fruit Sue, therefore your posting will be an education as well as a pleasure for me.

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    1. I'll try to keep you well informed Angie

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  12. I know very little about them so I shall enjoy finding out more over the year.xxx

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    1. And I'll take lots of photos for you Dina

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  13. I look forward to reading more about your medlar as the year unfolds Sue. A fellow tree follower has posted about a very old medlar over the last year so it will be interesting to see what a youngster gets up to.

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    1. Probably not as impressive Anna

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  14. I love experiments. When we went to Denmark I was so impressed at all the different varieties of the fruit and nut trees. It is too cold up here to be so bold.

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    1. What type of fruit can you grow, Bonnie?

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  15. I've never heard of this tree before, but it appears very interesting and extremely exotic! Thanks for giving a little history of its background. And thanks for sharing!

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  16. I've never heard of this tree, so cool! I'll be following with interest as you highlight it this coming year.

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    1. I'll do my best to tell you all about it Jenni

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  17. I like this tree following meme a lot. We have a medlar. I planted it three years ago in the farmhouse garden and I rather like the stockiness of it. It's a windy corner and when I planted it I was a bit busy and never got round to staking the poor thing. It doesn't seem to be bothered in the slightest by my oversight and is growing well. A lovely tree.

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  18. I knew about the medlar for the first time through your post. Although I have ever seen the real medlar till the current time.

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