Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
"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."
Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (computerized index system of the U. S. National Library of Medicine)
(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