Medlar Facts

Medlar Facts
Medlar is deciduous tree that belongs to the family of roses. It originates from southwest Asia and southeast Europe. Cultivation of medlar started 3.000 years ago. This fruit was popular and often consumed among ancient Romans. Medlar grows in areas with cool and temperate climate, on the moist, well-drained soil, exposed to direct sunlight. People cultivate medlar mostly as a source of food.
Interesting Medlar Facts:
Medlar is small tree that can reach 20 feet in height.
Medlar produces numerous contorted branches that form dense crown. Wild varieties of medlar produce branches with thorns.
Medlar has dark green, glossy, elliptical leaves covered with silver hairs on the bottom side. They are alternately arranged on the branches. Leaves become orange or red-colored during the autumn.
Medlar produces large white or pinkish flowers that grow individually at the end of the branches. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers) and they emit pleasant aroma.
Medlar blooms from April to June. In the case that bees (natural pollinators) are not available, flowers perform self-pollination.
Fruit of medlar is small brownish pome (type of fruit with edible flesh and few seed coated with tough capsule that can be found in the middle of the fruit). 5 compartments filled with seed can be seen through the opening on the end of the fruit.
Medlar propagates via seed and grafting. It starts to produce fruit 3 years after planting.
Fruit is inedible until it becomes half-rotten (acids and tannins from the fruit are eliminated during the process of flesh decay)
Transformation of creamy-colored hard flesh into soft brown pulp is called "bletting". It can takes place on the tree (plant needs to be exposed to frost) or in the cool and dry storage after the harvest. Bletting completes in 2 to 3 weeks.
Edible medlar has mushy texture. It tastes like a mixture of applesauce and cinnamon. Medlar can be consumed raw, combined with sugar and port or in the form of jellies, jams and creams.
Medlar is not very popular today, but it was one of the most important types of fruit during the Medieval period in Europe.
Medlars are mentioned in several plays of William Shakespeare. Famous artist Caravaggio incorporated medlars in one of his pictures: "Boy with a basket of fruit".
Tea made of meldar leaves can be used in treatment of kidney stones. Fruit, flowers, leaves and bark of medlar tree are used in treatment of diarrhea, fever and throat abscesses in Iran.
Hard and durable wood of medlar was used for the manufacture of spears and various types of weapons in the past (small size of medlar tree prevents massive exploitation of the wood).
Medlar is perennial plant that can survive 30 to 50 years in the wild.

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