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Medlar of Japan, called (Eriobotrya japonica), is a fruit tree of the Rosaceae family, subfamily Pomoidee, but above all it does not come from Japan but from China. Then yes it also arrived in Japan and, after a few more centuries, in Europe. Including Italy, of course: introduced in 1812 in the Botanical Garden of Naples, the Medlar of Japan it began its career as an ornamental plant, then it also established itself for the goodness and usefulness of the fruits.
Japanese medlar: plant
Small and evergreen, it shows a dense and rounded crown, it does well in temperate or warm areas. The leaves are quite large and have a jagged profile, the seeds are large and dark in color.
There are two types of Medlar of Japan, and are distinguished by the fruits: the Chinese one has a large fruit, pear-shaped and with yellow pulp, the Japanese type has a smaller and rounder fruit, the color of the pulp is more faded. In both cases, the fruit has no exaggerated size except in rare varieties: the average weight varies from 30 to 55 g.
Japanese medlar: flowering
The flowering period for the Medlar of Japan it is unusual compared to what we are used to in Italy with others. In this case, the "good" months are winter, from November to February. With cold and perhaps snow, this tree produces small flowers, and gathered in panicles of 100 or more units. There brave flowering it also occurs at temperatures below zero but if the climate is temperate, especially during the flowering and fruit formation period, it is much better.
Japanese medlar: pruning
The Medlar of Japan it is a plant that can be left to develop freely, carrying out some pruning after harvesting. It would be some thinning cuts, nothing difficult and demanding.
This plant reproduces almost exclusively by seed, then grafting is performed.
If all goes well, a plant is able to supply 30 kg, for a total production of 200 quintals / ha. If the flowers of the Medlar of Japan they remain until the end of winter, just shortly after we can begin to observe the appearance of the fruits. Observe, and I say, observe well, because the best time for harvesting is when they take on a “right” color: yellow, yellow-gold, yellow-orange. Maximum delicacy, then, in proceeding: they are very delicate.
Medlar of Japan: cultivation
If you think it is as difficult as the art of Bonsai, the cultivation of Medlar of Japan, you are wrong. It does not present particular difficulties. In fact we find it both in Spain, near Valencia, for example, and in southern Italy, in particular in Sicily and Calabria. Around the world there are numerous varieties of this plant, with fruits above all, of different colors and shapes.
In Italy some of the popular varieties are: 'Medlar by Ferdinand',' Precocious of Palermo ','Nespolone of Palermo',' Big Long 'and' Big Round '. They are almost all concentrated in the southern regions due to the climate: the ideal habitat of Medlar of Japan are the areas with mild winters and where it almost never freezes. We have said that it resists below freezing but it is certainly not its ideal location.
To best cultivate the Medlar of Japan and to obtain good results, as far as possible, we should reserve him a position sheltered from the winter winds. Another trick is to choose not very humid soils because the root is almost totally superficial. If we can protect it, we will be able to enjoy its fragrant flowers and greedy fruits. Maybe trying to make a jam, too.
Medlar of Japan: ownership
The leaves of the Medlar of Japan in several countries, not only in China and Japan, they are used for the treatment of skin diseases and diabetes. The honey obtained from this plant, as well as being particularly appreciated in Italy and Spain, has also proved to be very rich in nutrients and energy.
The Medlar of Japan it is not a recent discovery, however, and its properties have long been known. In the eighteenth century, as soon as it arrived in Japan, it was a plant used only for ornamental and landscaping purposes but as early as the nineteenth century, thanks to the selection made by farmers, larger fruits were obtained that began to be successful.
In nutrition but not only because they are tasty, but also because they are sour-sweet pulp, fragrant and refreshing, precious elements and vitamins are hidden. Over time and are the spread of Medlar of Japan also in our Europe, the fruits have been used for the production of jams, juices, syrups, alcoholic beverages.
You can taste the jam of Medlar of Japan out of curiosity, to experiment, because we know it and like it, because it is good for us or because we are passionate about its history. In any case, with 13 euros you can buy a 210-gram jar of jam (203 Kcal / h). By spoonfuls, on bread, to fill a cake. You will find your best use.
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