Pear (Period)

Pear (Period)

The term “fruit”, as it is used in heraldry, denotes the seed-pod of most plants; the term is specially reserved for the edible portions of those plants.  A full plant or tree shown bearing such fruit may be blazoned “fructed”.


Any fruit known to period Europeans may be used in Society armory – though, if the fruit is not itself European, its use is considered a step from period practice.  (An exception would be made for non-European fruit actually used in period European armory, but no examples have been adduced.)  Examples of fruit found in period armory include cherries, in the arms of Cheriton, c.1436 [Parker 104]; pears, in the arms of Perello, Visconte de Rodes, 1366 [Gelre 63]; peaches, in the badge of Pechey, d.1522 [Hope 191], &c.

Cluster of ash keys (Accepted)

Cluster of ash keys (Accepted)

Hazelnut (Period)

Hazelnut (Period)

In general, those fruits that hang from a stem – i.e., those that grow from a tree or a vine – are shown with stem to chief by Society default; while those that grow from the ground are shown with the stem to base by Society default.  Thus apples, strawberries, bunches of grapes, pears, &c, have stems to chief, while artichokes, ears of wheat, &c, have stems to base.  There are numerous exceptions, of course:  one such is the “hazelnut” or “filbert”, with its stem to base, as found in the canting arms of Haseley or Hasley, 1431 [DBA3 417].

A few notable Society usages:  “Ash keys” are the fruits of the ash tree; the illustration shows clusters of ash keys dependent from their branches.  By Society convention, a “strawberry proper” is gules:  its slipping and leaving, if any, is vert, and its seeds may be Or or sable at the artist’s discretion.  A “chili pepper proper” is red with a green cap, by Society convention (and carries the step from period practice mentioned above).

The illustrations show a pear, a cluster of ash keys, and a hazelnut.  For specific entries, see:  acorn, apple, clove, garlic, grain, grapes, hops, leek, mushroom, pine cone, pomegranate, poppy boll, turnip.  See also cornucopia, garb, slip.

Deborah the Dextrous bears:  Argent, three artichokes vert.

Kathryn Perry bears:  Azure, three pears Or.

Cecily Pykerynge bears:  Or, three strawberries proper.

Anne of Threadneedle Street bears:  Azure, a chevron erminois cotised engrailed on the outer edges argent between two leaved ash branches fesswise reversed, dependent from each a cluster of ash keys, and a domestic cat couchant Or.

Alice Gardener bears:  Vert, six peapods Or.

Tomas de Luna bears:  Or, a radish bendwise gules leaved vert and a bordure rayonny gules.

This entry was posted on January 29, 2014, in .


Clove (Period); Japanese clove (Accepted, but probable SFPP)

Clove (Period); Japanese clove (Accepted, but probable SFPP)

A clove is a dried flower bud of the clove tree; it is considered a fruit for purposes of heraldic classification.  The clove is a period charge, found in the arms of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, 1532 [Bromley & Child 129].  Its “proper” tincture is dark brown.

There is also the “Japanese clove” (choji), a highly stylized rendering used in Mon [Hawley 35].  No period instances of its use have been adduced, but at this writing it remains acceptable for Society use.

Gwyneth Espicier bears:  Argent, a cinnamon tree eradicated vert within a bordure wavy azure semy of cloves argent.

Michael o Glofau bears:  Gules, a clove Or.

Yamakado Choji bears:  Sable, a Japanese clove within three crane’s heads couped at the shoulders in annulo argent.

This entry was posted on December 19, 2013, in .


Apple slipped and leaved (Period)

Apple slipped and leaved (Period)

The apple is a fruit; originally, the term simply meant “fruit” in general (as in the terms “crabapple”, “rose apple”, “pineapple”, &c), but is now understood to refer to the sweet, white-fleshed fruit of the tree of the Malus genus.  Medieval tradition equated the apple with the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden, possibly due to the pun (Latin mālum, apple, and malum, evil).

Apples are found in period armory, as in the canting arms of Holtzapfel, 1605 [Siebmacher 196].  They should be depicted in the period round form; apples drawn as a more modern cultivar, such as the trapezoidal “Red Delicious”, are a step from period practice.  The Society default is with slip to chief, which seems to be the opposite of medieval convention.  The illustration shows an apple slipped and leaved.

Adelicia Tagliaferro bears:  Sable, an apple argent.

Cai ap Cai bears:  Per pale argent and gules, in pale two apples counterchanged.

Da’ud ibn Auda bears as a badge:  An apple gules slipped and leaved proper.

This entry was posted on November 20, 2013, in .



Acorn (Period)

The acorn is the fruit of the oak tree; for that reason, it was considered a symbol of latent strength.  It’s a period charge, found in the arms of Gilsburgh or Gillsborough, c.1490 [DBA2 350].  The acorn’s Society default is with stem to chief, which seems to be the opposite of medieval convention.  An “acorn proper” is brown in Society armory.

The Shire of Far Reaches bears:  Azure, a laurel wreath and in chief three acorns argent.

Roger Stockton bears:  Azure, six acorns one, three, one and one argent.

Richenda de Cameron bears:  Gules, three acorns Or.

This entry was posted on November 13, 2013, in .