Medlar 'Nottingham' Mespilus germanica 'Nottingham' (F)
'Nottingham' is a small, deciduous tree, more upright than the species, with large, leathery leaves and cup-shaped white flowers in spring. This is a great-flavoured medlar, but the fruit are small - about 4cm across
About this plant
Nottingham Medlar, German Medlar, Common Medlar.
Crataegus germanica, Mespilus sylvestris, Mespilus vulgaris.
Color of leaves
15 feet (4.6 meters)
10 feet (3 meters)
- General Benefits
- Edible Fruit: Mespilus germanica 'Nottingham' provides edible fruits that can be eaten fresh, cooked into desserts, or made into preserves and jellies.
- Ornamental Value: The plant offers ornamental appeal through its attractive white flowers, which bloom in late spring, and its russet-colored fruits in autumn.
- Wildlife Attraction: The tree's fruits attract birds and other wildlife, offering a natural source of food for local fauna.
- Historical Significance: Known commonly as medlar, this plant has a rich cultural and historical background, having been cultivated for centuries.
- Shade Provider: The tree can offer shade and add structure to garden designs, making outdoor spaces more comfortable and visually appealing.
- Low Maintenance: Medlar trees are known for their low maintenance requirements, making them a good choice for gardeners seeking minimal upkeep.
- Drought Tolerance: Once established, it has a certain degree of drought tolerance, making it suitable for planting in drier climates or conditions.
- Pollinator-Friendly: The blossoms provide a source of nectar for bees and other pollinating insects, thus supporting biodiversity.
- Self-pollinating: Being self-pollinating, it doesn't require another tree for cross-pollination to bear fruit, which is ideal for small gardens.
- Medical Properties
- Antidiarrheal: Medlar fruit has been used traditionally to treat diarrhea due to its astringent properties.
- Gastrointestinal health: The fruit is consumed to aid digestion and prevent gastrointestinal disorders.
- Antioxidant: Medlar contains antioxidants which can help in preventing cell damage caused by free radicals.
- Vitamin C content: The fruit has a high vitamin C content which is beneficial for the immune system.
- Astringent properties: The fruit and leaves have been used topically to treat minor skin irritations and inflammations.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Ink Production: The tannins found in the Medlar fruit can be extracted and potentially used in the production of natural inks.
- Woodwork: The hard wood of the Medlar tree is suitable for making small turned items, like knobs or tool handles, due to its fine grain and good workability.
- Natural Dyes: The leaves and fruit of the Medlar can be used to create natural dyes for fabric or craft projects, achieving colors ranging from yellow to brown.
- Photography: The juice of the Medlar fruit contains compounds that can be used in alternative photography printing processes.
- Ornamental Features: Medlar's distinctive fruit and flowers make it an attractive addition to ornamental gardens for aesthetic purposes.
- Wildlife Support: Medlar trees can provide food for birds and other wildlife during late autumn and winter when other food sources are scarce.
- Living Fences: When planted closely and pruned accordingly, Medlar trees can form dense hedges or 'living fences' that mark boundaries and provide privacy.
- Cider and Perry Making: The Medlar fruit can be used as an adjunct in the fermentation process to add unique flavors to homemade ciders or perry.
- Leather Tanning: The high-tannin content in Medlar leaves and fruit could potentially be used in the tanning of leather to enhance the finished material's color and durability.
- Culinary Experiments: Beyond traditional uses, Medlar fruit can inspire modern chefs to create unique jams, jellies, sauces, or as an accompaniment to game and meats, pushing the boundaries of culinary arts.
- Feng Shui
The Medlar is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Zodiac Sign Compitability
The Medlar is not used in astrology practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Patience: Medlar (Mespilus germanica 'Nottingham') fruits are only edible after being bletted, which requires waiting for them to soften post-harvest, symbolizing the virtue of patience.
- Time: The medlar’s unique ripening process is also emblematic of the passage and transformation that time imparts on all things.
- Renaissance: The medlar was more popular in the past, especially during medieval and Renaissance periods, representing nostalgia or the value of historical and cultural aspects.
- Rarity: Today, the medlar is quite rare compared to other fruits. Its scarceness can symbolize uniqueness or value in rarity.
- Love and affection: In some cultures, the medlar's shape and intimate ripening process might associate the fruit with themes of love and sensuality.
The Medlar tree, often known by its most common common name "Medlar," should be watered regularly to maintain moist soil, especially during the first few years after planting and during the growing season. Generally, it is recommended to provide about 1-2 gallons of water per week, depending on weather conditions. During extended periods of dry weather, water deeply once a week to encourage deep root growth. It is important, however, to avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. In winter, you can reduce watering since the tree will be dormant and the natural rainfall will often be enough to sustain it.
Medlars prefer a position in full sunlight to ensure healthy growth and fruit production. The best spot for a Medlar tree would be an open area that receives direct sunlight for most of the day. While they can tolerate partial shade, fruit yield and quality may be reduced. Ensure that the chosen site is not shaded by taller plants or buildings, particularly during the peak sunlight hours.
Medlar trees can tolerate temperatures down to about 0°F but grow best when the temperature ranges between 50°F and 80°F. They can survive brief periods of colder weather, but prolonged exposure to temperatures below 0°F could damage or kill the tree. The ideal growth temperatures for the Medlar are moderate spring and summer temperatures that are not excessively hot.
The Medlar tree should be pruned to remove any dead or diseased branches, to shape the tree, and to encourage a strong structure that can support the fruit. Pruning is typically done during the dormant season, in late winter or early spring. Thin out crowded branches and remove any suckers that arise from the base of the tree. Pruning once a year is usually sufficient for maintaining a healthy Medlar.
Medlar (Mespilus germanica 'Nottingham') prefers well-drained soil rich in organic matter. A mix of two parts loam, one part sand, and one part compost or well-rotted manure will be ideal. The soil pH should be mildly acidic to neutral, around 6.0 to 7.0.
Medlars, such as the 'Nottingham' variety, are typically not grown in containers and do not require repotting as they are usually planted outdoors. Instead, they are planted directly in the ground and require space to grow.
- Humidity & Misting
Medlars like 'Nottingham' are tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and do not require specific conditions. Outdoor humidity levels are generally sufficient for the healthy growth of this plant.
- Suitable locations
Grow 'Nottingham' medlars indoor with bright light and room to grow.
For outdoor medlar cultivation, plant in sun, well-drained soil, and space.
- Life cycle
The common medlar (Mespilus germanica 'Nottingham') starts its life cycle as a dormant seed which requires stratification, a process of cold treatment, to break dormancy. Upon germination in early spring, a seedling emerges and establishes roots, and over several years, it grows into a small deciduous tree. The tree reaches maturity and begins to flower usually after 3-5 years, producing white flowers in late spring that are insect-pollinated. Following pollination, the tree bears a fruit known as a pome, which initially is hard and acidic but becomes edible after bletting, a process where the fruit softens and sweetens through over-ripening. The tree enters a period of dormancy in the winter, shedding its leaves and slowing down metabolic activities. Each year, the cycle repeats with new growth in spring, flowering, fruiting, and eventual dormancy in the winter, continuing for many decades as the tree lives and reproduces.
Late Winter - Early Spring
The Mespilus germanica 'Nottingham', commonly known as the Nottingham medlar, is typically propagated through grafting onto a suitable rootstock. Grafting is generally carried out in late winter or early spring before the bud break when the rootstock is still dormant. The most widely used method for this plant is the bud grafting technique, also known as chip budding. A healthy bud from a mature Nottingham medlar tree is grafted onto the stem of a rootstock. The bud is carefully inserted under a flap of bark on the rootstock and then secured in place with grafting tape. This process aligns the cambium layers of the bud and the rootstock to ensure proper vascular connection, which will supply the implanted bud with water and nutrients, encouraging it to grow into a new tree that bears fruit identical to the parent plant.