Medlar Flowers

I mentioned earlier this year that I was hoping for medlar flowers and fruit this year. And we’ve now got them! The flowers are opening right now, and there’s enough that hopefully a few “open-arse” fruits will stick around. Last year we got so close, but in the end only a couple of flowers opened and there were no delicious medlars to eat.

Medlar flowers

Medlar flowers

Medlars have a bit of a reputation as an acquired taste, but I don’t see it really. They do have tough skin and a few big seeds in the middle, but the flesh itself tastes a bit like a mixture of apple puree, oats and a hint of lemon juice.

You do have to blet them, but despite sensational descriptions, bletted is not the same as rotten. It’s just a bit overripe, in a similar way to eating that slightly wrinkled apple in the fruit bowl.

I can’t wait to scoop out home-grown pasty brown medlar flesh…

7 thoughts on “Medlar Flowers

  1. How old is the tree? Apologies if I’ve asked before. My tree looks like 5 or 6yrs old but I just searched my email for the order and in early 2015 the seller said he had 2yr old medlars – making mine 3 now. 5ft tall and main trunk is about 2 inches thick. I presume it is a fast growing tree. Last year I had a dozen fruits and left them to blet on the tree only to forget. At what point do you say they are ready?

    This year I have dozens and dozens of flowers.

    • It’s 4 years old now. It was planted as a 1 year maiden when we moved 3 years ago. The thing is that last year it tried, but lost a lot of the flower buds while still very small before they opened. It is definitely on the vigorous side compared to the apples and pears. Perhaps the scion was demanding a lot of the semi-vigorous quince rootstock, and it just didn’t have enough oomph for everything last time round.

      To be honest, I’ve had problems with everything I have on quince since the soil in the sunny corner of the garden is very free draining, and that’s not ideal for quince, but the medlar seems to be the one most determined to grow at all costs.

      The variety is ‘Iranian’, which is supposed to be compact and bushy – and if this is a compact variety, yours must really be growing at a rate of knots! It also prefers going horizontally much more than vertically, so I’ve had to force it by pruning and tying to form a clear trunk.

      In the past I’ve just acquired the fruit from parks whenever I’ve seen them, so timing has been erratic, but since they don’t normally ripen on the tree in this country I don’t think timing is quite so crucial. I think the official picking time is around the time of the first frosts, in late October or early November, while still hard.

      You then leave them somewhere until they go squidgy to the touch with wrinkled skin. When you cut the fruit open it should be soft and dark brown all the way through, without any lighter coloured hard spots.

  2. Thanks for that. When I went on a pruning course, I was told not to prune quince or medlar – apparently they don’t like it. The pruning chap didn’t know about these trees but there are a couple of “old pruning” books that he had and uses as his bibles. They both said leave well alone apart from removing dead branches.

    • They say not to prune medlars because they respond to hard pruning with lots of vertical shoots, and they’re tip bearers so if you prune hard you also reduce fruiting. But if you start from a maiden whip without any branches you do need to do some formative pruning if you want something that looks like a tree, otherwise you’ll get lots of low growing branches and an impenetrable clump instead of a trunk.

      I guess your two year old tree already had some formative pruning before you got it?

      • Yes. I guess it probably did have pruning done before I got it. I guess, like everything, it needs to be put into context. You prune until you have the shape you want then leave it alone.

  3. Pingback: The First Home-Grown Medlar | Have Some Pi

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