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"small fruit-bearing tree," mid-14c. (in reference to the fruit itself), from Old French medler, variant of mesple, from Latin mespila "fruit of the medlar," from Greek mespilion, a foreign word of unknown origin. The Old English name was openærs, literally "open-arse."
(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