Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mespilis

Mespilis

Mespilis canescens ( Stern's Medlar )
A medium-sized shrub, reaching a maximum size of 10 x 10 feet, that is native to Arkansas. It is highly endangered with extinction with only 25 plants left in the wild. Some records include: 3 years - 8 feet.
The obovate leaves are bright green at first, turning to deep green.
The white flowers are borne during mid spring.
They are followed by glossy red fruit.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 ( possibly even 5 though more testing is needed ) in full sun to partial shade on fertile, moist, well drained soil.

Mespilis germanica ( Medlar )
A slow growing, picturesque, dense, broadly-rounded, small tree that is native to mountainous areas from southeastern Europe to soutwestern Asia. It is also naturalized from the southeastern British Isles to central Europe. It is often considered to be native to the British Isles but was actually introduced there by the Romans centuries ago. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 2 feet; 20 years - 27 x 27 feet; largest on record - 60 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet. It is rarely seen in the U.S.; in the DC region it can be found at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, MD.
The alternately-arranged, finely-toothed, oblong leaves are up to 7 x 3 ( rarely over 5 ) inches in size. The foliage is waxy deep green above, felted beneath, they turn glowing orange and red in fall.
The abundant, white, 5-petalled, single flowers, up to 2 inches across, are borne during late spring.
The very tasty, fleshy, rounded fruit are up to 2.7 ( usually under 1.6 ) inches in length, or about the size of a plum. They can be eaten fresh, stewed or made into jelly. For soft tasty fruit, most cultivars are best harvested just after the first fall frost or otherwise they will have high malic acid content and won't taste as good.
The young stems are hairy and brown. The stems on wild plants are often armed with small thorns, though most of the cultivars are thornless.
The grayish-brown bark is smooth on young trees, later becoming thin plated and flaking off to expose fresh orangish-brown bark beneath.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 ( tolerating -25 F though a Russian strain is reportedly hardy to -35 F ) in full sun on just about any moist, fertile, well drained soil. It thrives in midwest North America and is rarely bothered by insect pests or disease. Transplant while small as they do not like root disturbance. Young trees should be pruned to a single leader, thinned and feathered.
Older trees need little pruning other than removing dead wood or the occasional shortening of overextended limbs.
Propagation is from seed sown during autumn, however cultivars can also be bud grafted during late summer.

* historic archive photo

* excellent videos found on Youtube



'Breda Giant'
A very attractive, broad-crowned tree with large tropical-looking foliage. Up to 20 or more pounds of the fruit, up to 1.7 inches in length, may be borne in a year on a single plant.
The large flowers are pinkish-white.

'Dutch'
A very attractive, thornless, broad-crowned tree with large tropical-looking foliage.
The large flowers are pinkish-white.
The fruit are large.

'Large Russian'
A very attractive, broad-crowned tree with large tropical-looking foliage.
The large flowers are pinkish-white.
The fruit are large.

'Nottingham'
Thornless with great tasting, large fruit. The leaves are also large, it is also otherwise similar.

'Stoneless'
The fruit are seedless but unfortunately very small.

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