Friday, August 03, 2012

Friday Feature: Medlar Tree

This will be the first official Friday Feature.  I think that the format will probably evolve overtime, so forgive me if this is a little rough.  As I develop a format, I may go back to this post and others and reformat them as makes sense.  Once I have a format developed, I'll also post a "key" to the categories. I'm also working on a glossary for terms included in here.  This is all a work in progress, so bear with me.

This Weeks Friday Feature:  Medlar Tree

Latin:  Mespilus germanica
Habit, size, form: Standard, small tree
Root Pattern: N/A
Size: 20ft x 20ft
Growth Rate: Medium
Habitat: Thickets, edges, Open woods
USDA Hardiness Zone: 6, not frost tender.
Flowering range: May - June
Pollination: Self-pollinating
Fruit: Good fruit, tasting of spicy applesauce once allowed to soften fully indoors
Soil: Any well-drained soil type will do.
Sun: Full sun or partial shade.
Moisture: Mesic.
Soil PH: ~5.5-8
Uses: Good edible fruit.
Functions: General nectary
Drawbacks: None
Improved Cultivars: Yes
Beneficial Shelter: The Medlar does not provide shelter to beneficial insects that we know of.

Synthesis: I doubt that Medlar fruit would be something there is much of a market for, although I have not had the fruit and cannot say first hand.  However, it sounds like something that would compliment pie or preserves quite well, as well as provide some variety in the fruit eaten off the tree.  That said, it seems appropriate to only include a few Medlars in a food forest or backyard garden.  I could not find any information on beneficial impacts it might offer other species of plant, though it is a good nectary so it'll give the pollinators something to munch on.  Many plants flower during the Medlars range so it'll only be adding diversity, not survival fodder, but diversity is a good thing.

Brainstorms: Perhaps Medlars create excellent honey?  It's something that I'd like to find out, as spicy applesauce honey sounds really good to me... though I don't know if I'd ever plant enough of an orchard type situation to make it happen.  Also, I'd like to see the wood and find out how good it might be for projects.

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