Common Medlar foliage and fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribe: Maleae
Subtribe: Malinae
Genus: Mespilus
Bosc ex Spach

Mespilus canescens
Mespilus germanica

Common-Medlar flowers
Medlar fruit, cv. 'Nefle Precoce'

Mespilus, commonly called Medlar, is a genus of two species of flowering plants in the subfamily Maloideae of the family Rosaceae. One, Mespilus germanica, is a long-known native of southwest Asia and possibly also southeastern Europe (Black Sea coast of modern Turkey), and the other, Mespilus canescens, was discovered in North America in 1990.

Mespilus germanica features an unusual apple-like fruit that requires bletting to eat; although not widely eaten today, consumption of these fruits was much more common in the past.



Mespilus are deciduous large shrubs to small trees growing up to 8 metres (26 ft) tall. The leaves are dark green and elliptic, 6–15 centimetres (2.4–5.9 in) long and 3–4 centimetres (1.2–1.6 in) wide. The leaves turn red in autumn before falling. The five-petaled white flowers, produced in late spring, are hermaphrodite and pollinated by bees. The fruit is a pome, 2–3 centimetres (0.79–1.2 in) in diameter, with wide-spreading persistent sepals giving a "hollow" appearance to the fruit; it is matte brown in M. germanica and glossy red in M. canescens.


Mespilus germanica can most commonly be found today in Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe, i.e. along the Black Sea coast of modern Turkey. The fruit is native to Asia Minor [1], as well as the Caucasus and Northern Iran, and has an ancient history of cultivation; it was grown by the ancient Greeks and Romans, beginning in the 2nd century BCE. Mespilus germanica was a very popular fruit in Western Europe during the Victorian era;[citation needed] but has fallen out of favour there.

Related plants

Within subfamily Spiraeoideae, Mespilus is most closely related to Crataegus, Amelanchier, Peraphyllum, and Malacomeles.[2]

The genus Eriobotrya (loquats) was once considered to be closely related to Mespilus, and is still sometimes called the "Japanese Medlar".

Many authors group Mespilus together with Crataegus in a single genus, with species names Crataegus germanica (L.) Kuntze, and Crataegus ×canescens (J. B. Phipps) T. A. Dickinson & E. Y. Y. Lo.[3][4][5][6][7][8]


Medlars are not widely available at present, though one can purchase the fruit and trees of Mespilus germanica from specialists.


The trees are self-fertilizing and long-lived (they can be hundreds of years old), and saplings are cheaply available by mail order in the UK.

External links


  1. ^
  2. ^ Campbell, C.S.; Evans, R.C.; Morgan, D.R.; Dickinson, T.A.; Arsenault, M.P. (2007). Phylogeny of subtribe Pyrinae (formerly the Maloideae, Rosaceae): Limited resolution of a complex evolutionary history. Plant Systematics and Evolution. 266(1–2): 119–145.
  3. ^ Scopoli, G.A. 1760. Flora Carniolica Exhibens Plantas Carniolae Indigenas et Distributas in Classes Naturales cum Differentiis Specificis, Synonymis Recentiorum, Locis Natalibus, Nominibus Incolarum, Observationibus Selectis, Viribus Medicis..
  4. ^ Castiglioni, L.G. 1790. Luigi Castiglioni's Viaggio travels in the United States of North America 1785-1787 with natural history commentary and Luigi Castiglioni's Botanical Observations: Viaggio negli Stati Uniti dell' America Settentrionalle fatto negli Anni 1785, 1786 e 1787....
  5. ^ Moench, C. 1794. Methodus Plantas Horti Botanici et Agri Marburgensis: Reprint with introduction and biography by William T. Stearn. Otto Koeltz Antiquariat, Koenigstein-Taunus.
  6. ^ Koch, K. 1869. Dendrologie: Bäume, Sträucher und Halbsträucher, welche in Mittel- un Nord- Europa in Freien kultivirt werden. Verlag von Ferdinand Enke, Erlangen.
  7. ^ Kuntze, O. 1891. Revisio generum plantarum. A. Felix, Leipzig.
  8. ^ Lo, E.; Stefanović, S.; Dickinson, T.A. (2007). Molecular reapprasial of relationships between Crataegus and Mespilus (Rosaceae, Pyreae) – Two genera or one? Systematic Botany. 32(3): 596–616.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mespĭlus — L. (Mispel), Gattung der Rosazeen, meist dornige Sträucher oder kleine Bäume mit einfachen, oft eingeschnittenen, gelappten Blättern, einzelnen oder zu wenige u endständigen oder häufiger in reichblütigen Ebensträußen stehenden Blüten und… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Mespĭlus — (M. L.), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Pomaceae u. der Klasse der Rosiflorae, 12. Kl. 5. Ordn. L.; Steinfrucht, an der Spitze mit erweiterter Scheibe, fast von der Breite der Frucht selbst, sonst Alles wie bei Crataegus, überhaupt mit… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Mespilus — Néflier commun …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mespilus —   Mespilus …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mespilus — Dieser Artikel beschäftigt sich mit der Pflanzengattung der Mispeln (Mespilus). Auch weitere Pflanzenarten die nicht zu dieser Gattung gehören tragen im Deutschen den Namen „Mispel“, zum Beispiel die Japanische Wollmispel (Eriobotrya). Mispeln… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mespilus — ID 53049 Symbol Key MESPI Common Name mespilus Family Rosaceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity N/A US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution AR Growth Habit N/A Duration …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Mespilus — šliandra statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Erškėtinių (Rosaceae) šeimos augalų gentis (Mespilus). atitikmenys: lot. Mespilus angl. medlar; medlar tree vok. Mispel rus. мушмула lenk. nieszpułka …   Dekoratyvinių augalų vardynas

  • Mespilus — noun medlars • Syn: ↑genus Mespilus • Hypernyms: ↑rosid dicot genus • Member Holonyms: ↑Rosaceae, ↑family Rosaceae, ↑rose family • …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mespilus L. — Symbol MESPI Common Name mespilus Botanical Family Rosaceae …   Scientific plant list

  • Mespilus — …   Википедия

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.