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Publication #FOR293

Pyrus communis, Common Pear1

Michael G. Andreu, Melissa H. Friedman, and Robert J. Northrop2

Family

Rosaceae, rose family

Genus

The genus name Pyrus stems from the Latin word pirus meaning “pear tree.”

Species

The species name communis is the Latin term for “common.”

Common Name

Common pear, Pear

The name “common pear” is a direct translation of the scientific name for this tree.

Figure 1. 

Common pear (Pyrus communis)


Credit:

Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

This deciduous tree is native to Europe and eastern Asia, and has been introduced throughout much of the eastern United States, from Maine to Florida, and as far west as Texas and Missouri. Common pear grows best in moist soils with at least partial sunlight, and can reach a height of up to 40 feet. Leaves are simple and alternate, although they appear to be clustered at the end of the branches, and measure 1½–4 inches long by 1–2 inches wide. The oval-shaped leaves are dark green and shiny on the topside and pale green on the underside. The tips of the leaves are sharply angled, and leaf margins, or the edges of the leaves, are serrated or toothed. The gray-brown bark of young trees is smooth and develops vertical, scaly ridges and channels that flake with maturity. The 1-inch-wide, white to whitish-pink flowers have five petals and are often confused with apple blossoms. In the fall, the 2½- to 4-inch-long, edible fruits ripen to a color ranging from green to brown.

Allergen

Pollen from this tree is considered to be slightly allergenic.

Applications

Commercial/Practical

Common pear is most often cultivated for its soft and sweet fruit. Additionally, the light-colored wood is used to make products such as cabinets, knife handles, pencils, and engravings.

Horticultural

The showy flowers and manageable height of common pear makes it a favorable ornamental landscape tree. Some find the aromatic flowers and sweet edible fruits to be an additional plus; however, a pollinator specimen must be nearby in order for the female tree to produce fruit. Careful consideration should be taken when choosing a planting location, since the soft fruits can be messy if not harvested.

References

Virginia Tech (2011). Common Pear. Retrieved from http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=369.

USDA Plants Database (n.d.). Pyrus communis L., Common Pear. Retrieved from http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PYCO.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FOR293, one of a series of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date August 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Michael G. Andreu, associate professor, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; Melissa H. Friedman, graduate student, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; and Robert J. Northrop, Extension forester, Hillsborough County Extension; University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.