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a genus of deciduous plants of the family Rosa-ceae. It embraces one species, the medlar (Mespilus germánica), a tree or shrub measuring 3–6 m tall. The shoots are thorny except in cultivated forms. The leaves are lanceolate or ovate, and the flowers are solitary, large, and white. The fruit is a rounded drupe, whose tart, firm flesh becomes soft and sweet after frosts, fermentation, or complete ripening.
The medlar grows wild in Iran, in Asia Minor, and on the Balkan Peninsula; in the USSR it is encountered in the Caucasus, the Crimea, and Turkmenia. The plant is cultivated in some European countries, in the USA, and in the southern regions of the USSR. The fruits contain up to 10 percent sugars, 1.1 percent malic acid, and 1.6–15.8 mg percent vitamin C; they are eaten fresh or pickled, and pastille and wine are made from them. The wood is suitable for turned products. The medlar is a good nectar-bearer.
The medlar is propagated from seeds and by grafting. I. V. Michurin developed a high-quality variety of Sorbus by crossing the medlar with a variety of Sorbus that he had previously developed.