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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 9 | Rosaceae | Mespilus

1. Mespilus germanica Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 478. 1753.

Common medlar

Stems not fascicled; twigs sometimes thorny, thorns 1–2 cm. Leaves closely spaced on twigs; petiole 1–4 mm; blade: lateral veins 8–12 per side. Inflorescences 1(or 2)-flowered; bracteoles 5–15 mm, adaxially hairy, marginal glands absent. Flowers: anthers red (cream). 2n = 34.

Flowering May. Scrubby habitats; 700 m; introduced; Wash.; w Eurasia.

Mespilus germanica is native to western Eurasia, primarily to the east and south of the Black Sea. The species was previously widely cultivated as a minor fruit in the Old World; it is hardly known in North America outside arboreta. The brownish fruits are related to a relatively unusual mechanism of fruit dispersal by carnivorous animals (C. M. Herrera 1989) found also in other Maleae species. The only wild plants known from the flora area are in Washington; there are other suitable areas in North America where this species might become naturalized.


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