Mespilus germanica is a small tree or large shrub that is native to Southwest Asia and Southeast Europe. The shrub is known to have been around for over 3000 years, its fruit was eaten from the Roman times through to Medieval times.
When planted in its ideal conditions, it can grow to heights of 6m and when mature, the tree can develop a broad crown which looks similar to that of an umbrella. The large shrub consists of long, dark green, leathery leaves which are slightly hairy underneath.
During May – June, flowers made up of five broadly ovate white petals appear, reaching up to 6cm in width. In the late Autumn, the dark green leaves turn to a burnt orange-brown and are followed by reddish-brown fruit. The fruit is one of very few that becomes edible during the winter. It is a similar shape to an apple and when bletted, its flavour and consistency are very similar to apple sauce. It can be made into jellies, medlar cheeses or preserves.
It is a hardy plant, resistant to urban pollution and heat. Full sun and slightly acidic soil are best for its optimal growth and flowering.
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