The trees at Keele
We have over 150 species of tree on campus, not counting the 240 species and varieties of Flowering Cherry! Amongst them are many of our common native species as well as some more unusual ones. So, if you can't tell a Beech from a Birch or just want to know a bit more about them then read on!
Medlar Mespilus germanica
Origin: A native of southern Europe, it has long been cultivated in this country. It is rarely found today; in a few old cottage gardens and in collections.
Flowers: it is related to the thorns of the genus Crataegus but, unlike those, the flowers are large and single; appearing in late May. The narrow sepals, which are longer than the petals, are not shown in the photograph.
Leaves: the leaves, which are alternate and 5 to 15cm long, may or may not be toothed, they have sunken veins and become crinkled with age.
Fruit: for centuries the fruit, sometimes called a "medle" or "merle" was a delicacy. It was eaten by the Greeks and Romans and was believed to be a cure for a variety of ailments. It is made into preserves but can only be eaten raw when left to half rot; a process called "bletting". Fruits on the Keele tree were seen for the first time in 2009.
Location : one tree on the Horwood side of the path on the far side of Lake 1, opposite the Grey Poplar; compartment 18a; square P10; several in the Memorial Garden.