Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Fall brings many kinds of fruits we can use for floral designs. Among these is the stunning medlar.
This unusual fruit can be the same way as apples, pears, or any other deciduous fruit.
The fruits appear on new growth and at the ends of the stems. Rather small, these are greenish-brown to burgundy, and are especially decorative. They are very unique in their own way. One end of the fruit is open, exposing the interior to our view. Medlars are rock hard until they ripen completely, which takes months and months. So, as a result, they are very long lasting in floral designs.
If youíre interested in using medlars in floral design, the chances are youíll need to grow your own. Generally, these arenít widely available in the U.S.
Medlar trees are space saving trees, and donít require a lot of room. So, they are a good choice for those with small yards. This relatively unknown fruit is recommended for zones six through nine. Related to apples and pears, this slow growing plant reaches about 15 or 20 feet by the time it is twenty years of age.
When I bought my trees some years ago, few mail-order garden catalogs offered them. Since that time, several other companies have begun to sell the plants.
Medlars have been in cultivation for several thousand years, and were one of the first fruit trees that were planted by Europeans during the Colonial era in America. They can be seen at Colonial Williamsburg. Much loved by the ancient Greeks and Romans, they dedicated the fruits to the god Saturn. The Romans introduced the tree to Britain. Medlars were very popular during the Middle Ages. It is native to south central Europe, a fact that is reflected in its Latin name (Mespilus germanica).
Unlike most modern grafted trees, medlar plants can exist and reproduce without human aid. They are found wild in Britain and Europe.
A number of medlar cultivars are available. As far as floral design is concerned, they are all equally good. According to USDA experts, most sold in the U.S. are Nottingham even if the label says otherwise.
Medlar trees are self pollinating. So, you need only plant one in order to get fruits.