If, like me, you are a fan of the word “bletting”, then medlar is the fruit for you. Bletting is a process whereby the astringent and firm tissues of the fruit are broken down with time into an edible sugary mush. Side-by-side photos of semi-ripe fruit and bletted fruit are available via Wikipedia: Mespilus germanica.
Last week’s collections symposium seemed to be a success, but I am still catching up from the redirected time. Instead of a write-up, here a set of links for additional reading on this species:
- from the Oxford Plants 400, Mespilus germanica discusses the cultivation of medlar in Britain as well as some of the morphology of this pome
- a more detailed description of bletting from Wikipedia
- propagation and food uses from Plants for a Future database: Mespilus germanica
- medlar’s appearances in stories and poems (and associated crude humour) is detailed in the literature section of its Wikipedia entry
Medlar is thought to be native to southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia and parts of the Middle East, but its long history in cultivation (at least three millennia) make a precise native range difficult to determine.