Medlar 'Royal' (Mespilus germanica)


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'Royal' is an English cultivar first imported into the US about 30 years ago. The USDA describes this variety as having :"medium sized fruit, good flavor, heavy cropper." We can attest to the accuracy of this description and would add that its quite precocious, with a small 4 year old tree bearing a large crop. 

Medlars are close relatives of hawthorns and are native to southeastern coastal region of Mediterranean and southwestern Asia. Medlars have at least a thousand year long cultivation history over a wide region stretching from Iran to England.

The odd shaped, green-brown fruit looks like a large crab apple with its bottom end open rather than spherical. The fruit should be picked after the first hard frost. At this point it will still be hard and unpleasant. In order to ripen or "blett" the fruit, it is stored in a cool, dry place until the pulp softens and turns a light brown. Ripe medlars are quite delicious, with a flavor similar to spicy apple sauce.

Medlars grow into attractive small trees which are covered in soft pink-white flowers in the spring. Fall foliage is quite attractive, with the leaves turning hues of golden red and orange. Medlars are self-fertile.

  • Height: 8-10ft
  • Watering needs: regular
  • Sun needs: full sun
  • Soil needs: rich, well-draining
  • Fruitng Time: mid to late October

*Photo Courtesy of Northwoods Nursery

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