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(Common Medlar)

Mespilus germanica is a plant with a long history. It is known to have been around for over 3000 years and the fruit was commonly eaten from Roman through to Medieval times. Despite the name ‘germanica’ it is native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. Widely grown in the UK, it has reportedly naturalised in southern parts where winters are milder.

Medlar is a distinctive, small tree which in ideal conditions can grow up to 8m though usually is smaller. Mature specimens can develop beautiful broad crowns formed into a natural umbrella.

It has long, leathery leaves which are hairy on the underside; the autumn colour is a brilliant golden yellow/brown. The self fertile flowers are simple with five white petals which open up in early summer.

The fruits (medlars) resemble a small apple with a hollow at one end. They are hard and bitter and can only eaten when they are bletted (softened), after a frost. There are few fruits that become edible in winter which is why they were popular historically (before modern storage facilities) and can be made into delicious preserves, medlar cheeses or jellies.

Ideally planted in a warm, sunny location on dry, slightly acidic soil, it will tolerate both heat and urban pollution.

This plant is available from Deepdale Trees as a multistem, standard or half standard plant.

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Plant Profile

Name: Mespilus germanica

Common Name: Medlar

Family: Rosaceae

Height: up to 5m

Demands: Warm location on a well drained, neutral—acidic soil

Foliage: Elongated, leathery leaves

Flower: Attractive white flower with yellow centre

Bark: Grey-brown, cracked with age and scales may fall off

Fruit: Apple shaped, brown fruits. Edible in winter

Mespilus germanica info sheet

Mespilus germanica 2.5-3.0m multistems

Mespilus germanica 2.5-3.0m multistems

Medlars on bare stems during winter

Medlars on bare stems during winter

White medlar flowers are self fertile

Fruit and autumn foliage colour

Fruit and autumn foliage colour


18-20-25cm semi mature standards

Mespilus germanica half stem

Mespilus germanica half stem

2-3m multistems containerised at Deepdale Trees

2-3m multistems containerised at Deepdale Trees

Multistem specimens are often as wide as they are tall

Multistem specimens are often as wide as they are tall


Deepdale Trees Ltd.,
Tithe Farm, Hatley Road,
Potton, Sandy,
Beds. SG19 2DX.

  01767 26 26 36


Deepdale Trees

Grower of the UK's finest and widest selection of semi mature trees and shrubs.
From our convenient location in the heart of England, we are able to make year round deliveries Europe wide, selecting from over 140 acres of UK production. We are also able to source plants on request through our extensive supply network. Fully plant-passported and therefore able to supply trees throughout the UK and Europe.

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Independent tree nursery -
Standard trees, semi-mature trees, multi-stemmed, feathered, topiary and hedging.