(Mespilus germanica) Zones 5 - 8. Deciduous fruit tree.
This age-old, forgotten fruit is making a big comeback in the permaculture world!
Medlar saw its heyday back in Medieval time through The Renaissance when it was enjoyed by peasants and nobility alike. Part of its prominence during this time period is the Medlar's ability to keep as a Winter food source, a sweet one at that.
Once picked, Medlar fruit lasts into the Winter months. One reason being is that the fruit needs to break down a bit to release it's sweetness and flavour. They are actually hard and pretty tasteless unless they are allowed time to "blet", or age.
I once heard someone say, "A pear is best a few hours before it spoils". It is true; Pears, Persimmons and Medlar are all their sweetest and juiciest when they are nearly overripe.
Medlar can be eaten raw, but because of their almost creamy texture there are often enjoyed in the form of pies and custards. Medlars have a high pectin content and make a delicious spiced jelly.
Like apples and pears, the Medlar is in the rose family. The tree itself usually grows to around 15 feet tall with white flowers and long deeply ribbed leaves.
Cold Hardiness: Zones 5 - 8
Size: Small Tree
Growth Rate: Slow - Medium
Nitrogen Fixer: No
Native Plant: No
Germination: 50 - 70%
Sun Requirements: Full Sun - Light shade
Soil Preference: Rich, moist but well draining soil. Does not do well with wind.
- Soak seeds 24 hrs. Follow with 120 days cold, moist stratification. Follow that with six months warm, moist stratification, followed by another 120 days cold, moist stratification.
*This may sound complicated, but all it really mean is that medlar seeds have a 1 1/2 year germination process. Plant in the Fall, for germination, not the following Spring, but the next.*
For more information on stratification, check out our article "How To Start Your Tree Seeds".
*If you are doing the cold periods in your fridge, please check on your seeds during that second period. 120 days is an estimate & they may sprout sooner!*
- Medlar seeds need light to germinate! Sow stratified seeds on the soil's surface, in pots using standard potting soil or in nursery beds. Heat mats are NOT required & can hinder germination!
- Protect young tree seedlings from slugs, cutworms & rodents. Slugs especially can eat primary leaves as soon as they come up, so be vigilant!
*Excited about growing Trees from seed? Learn more HERE.*
Available direct from Incredible Seeds, a Canadian Heirloom and Heritage Seed Company, offering only the best natural, non-GMO, open pollinated and untreated seeds, located in Mi'kma'ki / Nova Scotia.