Pyrus communis
Common Name: wild pear
Type: Fruit
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Southern Europe, southwestern Asia
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 25.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Clay Soil

Culture

Best grown in well-drained humusy loams with medium moisture in full sun. More tolerant of heavy clays that many other types of fruit tree. Plant two or more varieties for best cross-pollination. Early spring flowers may be damaged by frosts. Planting early, midseason and late varieties extends the harvest period over several months. Trees may not bear fruit until 4-5 years after planting. For fruit production purposes, dwarf varieties take up less space, and are much easier to maintain in regard to controlling insects and diseases, training, pruning and harvesting fruit. Trees with dwarf rootstocks should be planted 15’ apart. In the St. Louis area, only plant cultivars with good resistance to fireblight. Pears generally perform best in cool, dry climates where fireblight is less of a problem.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pyrus communis, commonly called European pear or common pear, is a parent of a large number of pear cultivars grown for fruit production. It has been widely planted in North America, and has escaped cultivation and naturalized throughout much of the eastern U.S. in abandoned fields, along fencerows and in open woodland areas. Most of the pears sold in supermarkets today come from varieties of this species, including such old favorites as ‘Comice’, ‘Bartlett’ and ‘Anjou’. Standard trees typically grow to 25-30’ (less frequently to 60’) tall with upright branching and pyramidal form. Trees grafted to dwarfing rootstocks generally grow to 8-10’ tall. Ovate to elliptic glossy dark green leaves (to 4” long) have crenate to serrate margins. Foliage turns shades of red and yellow in fall. Aromatic, 5-petaled, creamy white (occasionally flushed with pale pink) flowers in corymbs appear in early spring on spur-like branchlets. Flowers give way to edible, pear-shaped fruits that ripen from mid summer to fall depending on cultivar. P. communis is sometimes used as a collective name for all pear cultivars grown for their fruit.

Genus name comes from the Latin name.

Specific epithet means common.

Problems

Pears are usually very susceptible to fireblight, particularly in years with warm and wet spring weather. Additional disease problems include anthracnose, canker, scab and powdery mildew. Insect visitors include pear psylla, coddling moth and borers.

Garden Uses

Althought the early spring flowers are beautiful and the fruit is attractive, common pear is normally grown only for its fruit crop and not as an ornamental. May be espaliered.