Pyrus communis 'Seckel'

Common Name: common pear 
Type: Fruit
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Clay Soil

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’. Cultivated pears are grafted onto rootstocks which influence the size of the tree, resistance to pests and diseases, time to fruiting maturity, and overall longevity. 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 is the Latin name for pear.

Specific epithet means common.

'Seckel' is a vigorous pear selection that will reach up to 15' tall and 12' wide (10' tall and 8' wide on dwarf rootstock) with a rounded to spreading canopy and upright habit. The white flowers bloom in spring and are followed by small to medium sized fruits. The fruits have bronzy purple to yellow skin and sweet, smooth, aromatic flesh. This cultivar is partially self-fertile, but will produce larger yields with another individual nearby.


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.

'Seckel' is resistant to fireblight.


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.