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medlar

medlar mĕd´lər [key], small deciduous tree ( Mespilus germanica ) of the family Rosaceae ( rose family), native to Europe and Asia. It has luxuriant foliage and large white or pinkish flowers; in the wild state it is sometimes thorny. The medlar has long been cultivated in parts of Europe for its acid, apple-shaped fruit. It is usually not picked until after it has been touched by frost; then the fruit is stored until the ripening process is completed. It is commonly eaten fresh but is sometimes used for preserves. Medlar is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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