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Common Medlar

Mespilus germanica

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
6 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, parks, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Saucer-shaped flowers with broad, oval petals. The flowers measure about 5cm across. Pollinated by bees.
Brown, apple-like fruits (medlars), about 5cm across. Its seeds ripen in November.
A deciduous tree or shrub with dark green, leathery, broadly lanceolate or oblong, downy, untoothed leaves. The leaves are between 6 and 14cm long. The leaves turn yellowish-brown in autumn.
Other Names:
Dutch Medlar, Medlar, Minshull Crab.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Common medlar (Mespilus germanica) is a species of tree in the rose family, native to Europe and western Asia. The tree is grown for its edible fruit, also called a medlar, which has a unique flavor and is used in a variety of culinary applications. The tree is also grown for ornamental purposes. It typically grows to around 6 meters tall, and it produces white flowers in the spring, followed by the fruit in the fall. The fruit is typically picked after the first frost, when it has become fully ripe and has a brown, "bletted" appearance.


The Common Medlar, also known as Mespilus germanica, is a small tree or shrub native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The tree produces small, apple-like fruits that have been used for centuries in culinary and medicinal applications. Although not as well-known as other fruit trees, the Common Medlar has a rich history and numerous benefits.

Description and Habitat

The Common Medlar tree can grow up to 6 meters in height and has a rounded shape. The leaves are simple, alternate, and oblong-shaped, with a slightly serrated margin. In the spring, the tree produces beautiful white or pinkish flowers that have a sweet fragrance. The fruit of the Common Medlar is round or oblong, about 2-3 cm in diameter, and has a brownish-green or russet-colored skin that is rough to the touch.

The Common Medlar is native to Europe and southwestern Asia, and it is commonly found in woodlands, hedgerows, and along roadsides. The tree is hardy and can tolerate cold temperatures and drought conditions. In recent years, the Common Medlar has become popular in home gardens, where it can be grown as a shrub or small tree.

Culinary Uses

The fruit of the Common Medlar is not usually eaten fresh, as it is too hard and astringent. Instead, the fruit is left to ripen on the tree until it is almost rotten, a process known as "bletting." During this time, the fruit softens and develops a sweet, spicy flavor that is similar to a mix of apples and dates. Once bletted, the fruit can be eaten fresh or used in various culinary applications.

One of the most popular uses for the Common Medlar is in the making of jams, jellies, and syrups. The fruit's high pectin content makes it an ideal candidate for these applications, and the unique flavor of the fruit adds depth and complexity to these recipes. The fruit can also be used to make liqueurs and brandies.

Medicinal Uses

The Common Medlar has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The fruit is believed to have astringent properties, which make it useful in treating diarrhea and other digestive issues. The fruit is also thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help to reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative damage in the body.

In addition to its medicinal properties, the Common Medlar is also used in cosmetics and skin care products. The fruit contains high levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can help to promote healthy skin and prevent the signs of aging.


The Common Medlar is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history and numerous benefits. Whether used in culinary applications or traditional medicine, the fruit of the Common Medlar is a valuable resource that deserves more attention. If you are looking for a unique and flavorful addition to your garden, consider planting a Common Medlar tree or shrub.

Facts about the Common Medlar

Here are some additional interesting facts about the Common Medlar:

  • The Common Medlar has a long history of cultivation, dating back to ancient times. It was widely grown in medieval Europe, where it was prized for its medicinal and culinary properties.

  • The fruit of the Common Medlar is often compared to the quince, another ancient fruit that is not commonly eaten fresh but is used in a variety of culinary applications.

  • The wood of the Common Medlar tree is hard and durable, and it has been used in woodworking and furniture-making for centuries.

  • In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, the Common Medlar has also been used in folklore and mythology. In some cultures, it was believed to have magical properties and was associated with love and fertility.

  • The Common Medlar is a hardy tree that is easy to grow and maintain. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but it can tolerate a range of conditions.

  • Although not widely known in the United States, the Common Medlar has gained popularity in recent years among food enthusiasts and gardeners who appreciate its unique flavor and historical significance.

Overall, the Common Medlar is a fascinating and versatile plant that has played an important role in human history and culture. Whether you are interested in culinary uses, medicinal properties, or simply appreciate the beauty of this unique tree, the Common Medlar is definitely worth exploring further.

Continuation of the blog

The Common Medlar is an interesting and unusual fruit that is worth exploring for its unique flavor and versatility. Although not commonly grown in the United States, it has a long and rich history in Europe and Asia, where it has been cultivated for centuries. Today, the Common Medlar is enjoying a resurgence in popularity among food enthusiasts, gardeners, and health-conscious consumers who appreciate its many benefits.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Common Medlar is its unusual flavor. Once bletted, the fruit has a sweet and spicy taste that is quite different from other fruits. It is often compared to a mix of apples and dates, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. This unique flavor makes the Common Medlar a popular ingredient in jams, jellies, syrups, and other culinary applications.

In addition to its flavor, the Common Medlar has numerous health benefits. The fruit is high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, which can help to boost immune function, improve digestion, and prevent oxidative damage in the body. It is also a natural source of pectin, which makes it an ideal ingredient for thickening jams and jellies.

Another interesting aspect of the Common Medlar is its historical significance. The fruit has been cultivated for thousands of years and has played an important role in the culinary and medicinal traditions of many cultures. In medieval Europe, it was considered a delicacy and was often served at banquets and feasts. It was also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, skin conditions, and respiratory problems.

Today, the Common Medlar is still relatively unknown in many parts of the world, but it is gaining popularity among food enthusiasts, chefs, and health-conscious consumers. It is a versatile and interesting fruit that can be used in a variety of culinary applications, and it offers numerous health benefits as well. Whether you are looking for a unique and flavorful addition to your garden or are simply interested in exploring new and unusual foods, the Common Medlar is definitely worth trying.

In conclusion, the Common Medlar is a fruit with a long and rich history of cultivation, prized for its unique flavor and medicinal properties. It has a sweet and spicy taste that is quite different from other fruits, and it is high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. The Common Medlar is also versatile, used in a variety of culinary applications, and can be grown easily in a range of conditions. Its historical significance and health benefits make it a fascinating fruit worth exploring for food enthusiasts, chefs, and health-conscious consumers.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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