Common pear

Poirier commun

Pyrus communis L.Rosaceae (rose family)

Origin: Europe


Common pear is a small to medium sized tree with a broad crown, a straight trunk and arching branches.

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Leaves are oval with a pointed tip and fine teeth along their edges.

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Flowers have five white petals and purple anthers. They are borne in clusters that open with the leaves in early spring.

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Fruits are pears with a classic pear shape, widest toward the tip and narrow toward the stalk.

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Common pear is a small to medium sized tree about 15 m (50') in height with a broad crown, a straight trunk and arching branches.

On older, unpruned trees the arching branches are very pronounced.

Like all pears and apples, common pear has many short shoots with compact annual growth rings.

Bark is dark brown with small rectangular scales.

Twigs are hairless and reddish- or olive-brown with yellow pores (lenticels). Terminal buds are about 8 mm (1/3") long.

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Leaves are 4 - 7.5 cm (1 1/2" - 3") long, oval, tapering to a pointed tip, borne on long leaf stalks.

Leaves are thick and shiny with fine teeth along the edges. They often appear trough-like from a fold along the length of the midrib.

Leaves on new long shoots are arranged alternately on the branch as are short shoots that bear clusters of leaves early in the season.

In fall, leaves turn yellow to orange.

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Flowers emerge in early spring with the leaves.

Flowers, borne in clusters, are pink in bud, white when open.

Flowers are fragrant, about 2.5 - 3.5 cm (1" - 1 3/8") wide, with 5 white petals, many purple anthers and hairy sepals.

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Fruits are green pears, 2 - 12 cm (3/4" - 4 3/4") long. Like many pears, they are widest toward the tip and narrow toward the stalk.

Fruits hang from the tips of short shoots.

Flesh is juicy and edible when ripe.

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Pears have been cultivated since ancient times from plants originating in Europe and western Asia. Many varieties have been developed from this species and its hybrids. The fruit of wild unpruned trees is edible but is usually smaller, drier and grittier than the varieties found in grocery stores.

Common pears are also cultivated and grown as ornamental trees.

The light brown wood of common pear is hard and fine-grained. It has been used for tool handles, wood carvings, and drawing instruments. In France, the wood has been prized for the manufacture of furniture.

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Common pear IN TORONTO

Common pear's place in Toronto's urban forest

Common pear trees are encountered in parks where formerly there were farms or backyards. Pear trees planted in a straight line may indicate an old orchard or a lot line. Common pear can easily reproduce from seeds or from root sprouts and has thus escaped cultivation and become naturalized in southern Ontario. If you have a pear tree on your property you may wish to visit the website of Not Far From the Tree to learn how you might get help collecting and using your fruit.

Landscape value and potential for home planting

Common pear is prized for its showy spring blossoms, colourful fall foliage and its edible fruit.

Pests and diseases: Common pear is highly susceptible to fire blight, a disease caused by bacteria that is native to North America and affects members of the rose family (Rosaceae). Fire blight is particularly harmful to pear and apple trees, killing branches and blossoms. Cankers appearing on the trunk indicate a serious infection that may kill the tree. For more infromation on fire blight see Agriculture Canada factsheet.

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WHERE CAN I SEE Common pear?

Find trees on Tree Tour maps at Canadian Tree Tours:

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