Mysterious Medlar

The medlar is a strange tree with a few uncomplimentary common names that aren’t fit to publish on this blog. I like the name ‘medlar’ though, sounds old like the dodo. The flowers are pretty, the fruits are, er … interesting (they give rise to the aforesaid uncomplimentary common names). The fruits need to be ‘bletted’ before you can eat them. The trees grow into tidy, small, easily-managed trees and do well in our climate. Nigel tells me they become attractively gnarled as they age. They are self-fertile so only one tree is needed to produce a crop.

Our local Gore Gardens have a very nice medlar tree, and so does the Dunedin Botanic Garden although I’d have to say the medlar in Gore Gardens is a better specimen and is the one featured in the photographs below. Gore, Southland, New Zealand.

Medlar in Gore Gardens

Mespilus germanica

This is our latest photo, taken by Nigel on 15 May 2018 (late autumn in NZ).


Following photos all taken 13 March 2018 (early Autumn). This photo by Nigel.


Photo below taken by Liz:  ** Click on Photo to Enlarge **


One of the larger fruits. Taken by Liz.


Photo below taken by Nigel:  ** Click on Photo to Enlarge **



Nigel also provided me with the following photos from his archives. The medlar with flowers was taken 11 Nov at Dunedin Botanic Garden. The bowl of medlar fruit was taken at Riverton Harvest Festival, Southland.

Mespilus medlar dbot 11Nov 146 Large


Photos by Liz and Nigel; Exploring Colour (2018)


20 thoughts on “Mysterious Medlar

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  1. It sounds ancient and mysterious doesn’t it. Medlar and bletting, conjures up images of medieval times and burnings at the stake. I wonder if birds like them. That’s usually a good indicator of a fruits eatability…. edibility?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – it does make me think of medieval times and medieval gardens. I’ve never seen anything written about birds and medlars. I’ll have to try and check on that from time to time … in a few weeks once they’ve softened up a bit. Assuming the garden staff don’t tidy them away!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My insatiable curiosity would bid me to ask, what are the uncomplimentary names…but, I will not venture there. The name Medlar has a musical quality to it, I like it. This is a very interesting tree and I am intrigued by the fruit. I must do some investigating into this for sure. Lovely photos by both Nigel and yourself. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Ellen, take your insatiable curiosity onto the web, as I’m sure you’ve already done by the time you read this (!), and you’ll find the names quite readily. There’s a few variations of the same theme but while the names are quite accurate they’re too repulsive for my family-friendly blog and not in keeping with my tea-in-fine-china image (!!!) 🙂


    1. Thanks for your comment Pepix. I wonder if you have any ‘Mispel’ growing in your area? By the way, Nigel and I would like to learn how to read German. I haven’t started looking at how we might do that yet!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ll have to see what options there are but the town we live in now is small. It would be great to find a local teacher if possible. Otherwise we might have to look at a course online. Not sure at this stage!


    1. I bet its odd to eat … I don’t think its ‘my cup of tea’ at all! I like the tree though with its tidy shape and interesting flowers and fruit. And I like the idea of having heritage trees and keeping them going for future generations.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Nigel mentioned there were fallen fruit so I just checked with him and he said “hundreds” but not at the messy stage yet. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re collected by the public, tidied away by garden staff, or left to rot! I steadfastly refuse to entertain any idea of trying them. The thought of leaving them for 2 or 3 weeks to go soft does NOT appeal !!!

      Liked by 1 person

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