Can you ID plant called "mespealis"/"mespelus"?

Joseph Postman postmanj at ava.bcc.orst.edu
Thu Jun 6 23:30:32 EST 1996


In article <Ds9yv9.Fw2 at cix.compulink.co.uk>,
Roger Whitehead <rwhitehead at cix.compulink.co.uk> wrote:
>
>Further to Mike Hardman's postings on the Medlar, the effects of the 
>fruit on the human intestinal tract are so emphatic that one of its old 
>names was "openers".
>

The Medlar (Mespilus germanica) has had many colorful names, and is 
mentioned several times in Shakespeare's works.  While it may have a 
laxative-like effect (though I have not experienced this - it is related 
to apples and pears, is eaten when it has 'bletted' and has the 
consistency and taste of apple-sauce, and no more emphatic effect than 
these other pome fruits) the name you are thinking of is "open-ars" which 
is a rather derogatory reference to the appearance of the calyx-end of 
the fruit.  The sepals at the calyx end of a ripe fruit look like... well 
they are rather anal in appearance!  

The tree and fruit are actually very ornamental - we have a photo of a 
medlar in one of our featured "plants of the month" that can be accessed 
from the following URL:  www.ars-grin.gov/ars/PacWest/Corvallis/ncgr

J. Postman



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