|1.||a small Eurasian rosaceous tree, Mespilus germanica|
|2.||the fruit of this tree, which resembles the crab apple and is not edible until it has begun to decay|
|3.||any of several other rosaceous trees or their fruits|
|[C14: from Old French medlier, from Latin mespilum medlar fruit, from Greek mespilon]|
(species Mespilus germanica), tree of the rose family (Rosaceae), closely allied to the genus Pyrus, in which it is sometimes included. A native of Europe from The Netherlands southward and of western Asia, it occurs in middle and southern England as a small, much-branched, deciduous, spinous tree. The flowers are white or pink-tinged, with five petals. The fruit is globular but depressed above, with leafy, persistent sepals, and contains stones of a hemispheric shape. It is not fit to eat until it begins to decay; then it takes on an agreeable acid and somewhat astringent flavour. Several varieties are cultivated
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