Friday, 17 October 2014

Medlars in abundance

Above: attention was drawn on in September to this splendid medlar tree, which hitherto had probably been largely unnoticed by passers-by in Chapel Street. But it is a remarkable specimen. Relatively uncommon these days, medlars were known in ancient times. They have a gnarled bark and crooked trunk and are generally found in old cottage orchards or growing wild in south-east England. They sprawl and reach a height of 20ft.
Above: the medlar's unusual-looking fruits need to be over-ripe before they can be eaten raw. They do not fall from the tree after ripening but can be gathered in October and stored until they become soft. Enjoyed by the Greeks and the Romans, the fruit was a delicacy for centuries. It can also be made into jelly.