The Common Medlar (Mespilus germanica) is a large shrub or small tree, and the name of the fruit of this tree. Despite its Latin name, which means German or Germanic Medlar, it is indigenous to southwest Asia and possibly also southeastern Europe, and was introduced to Germany by the Romans.
Common Medlar fruit are very hard and acidic. They become edible after being softened ('bletted') by frost, or naturally in storage given sufficient time. Once softening begins the skin rapidly takes a wrinkled texture and turns dark brown, and the inside reduces to the consistency and flavour reminiscent of apple sauce. This process can be a cause of confusion to new medlar consumers, as a softened medlar can give the appearance that it has spoiled.