is a tree of genus
( ) and also the name of the tree's
edible pomaceous fruit
The pear is classified in subtribe Pyrinae
within tribe Pyreae
. The apple
), which it
resembles in floral structure, is also a member of this
word “pear” is probably
from Common West Germanic
, probably a loanword
Vulgar Latin pira
, the plural
, akin to Greek
, which is likely of Semitic
origin. The place name Perry
indicate the historical presence of pear trees. The term "pyriform"
is sometimes used to describe something which is
Pear, "La France" (Japan)
Another image of Pear blossoms
The cultivation of the pear in cool temperate climates
extends to the remotest
antiquity, and there is evidence of its use as a food since
prehistoric times. Many traces of it have been found in the
. The word “pear”, or
its equivalent, occurs in all the Celtic languages, while in
Slavonic and other dialects different appellations, but still
referring to the same thing, are found—a diversity and multiplicity
of nomenclature which led Alphonse
de Candolle to infer a very ancient cultivation of the tree
from the shores of the Caspian to those of
Pears grow in the sublime orchard
, in Odyssey
vii: "Therein grow trees, tall and
luxuriant, pears and pomegranates
apple-trees with their bright fruit, and sweet figs
, and luxuriant olives
these the fruit perishes not nor fails in winter or in summer, but
lasts throughout the year."
The pear was cultivated also by the Romans, who did not eat them
raw : Pliny's Natural
recommended stewing them with honey and noted three
dozen varieties. The Roman cookbook attributed to Apicius
, De re
, has a recipe for a spiced stewed-pear
, or soufflé (IV.2.35).
The ancient Kingdom of Dardania
after the pear, meaning "Pearland."
A certain race of pears, with white down on the under surface of
their leaves, is supposed to have originated from P.
, and their fruit is chiefly used in France in the
manufacture of perry
(see also cider
). Other small-fruited pears, distinguished by
their early ripening and apple-like fruit, may be referred to
P. cordata, a species found wild in western France, and in
Devonshire and Cornwall.
Pears have been cultivated in China for approximately 3000
genus is thought to have originated in present-day western China in
the foothills of the Tian
Shan, a mountain range of Central Asia, and to have
spread to the north and south along mountain chains, evolving into
a diverse group of over 20 widely recognized primary
The enormous number of varieties of the cultivated
pear (Pyrus communis
), are without doubt derived from one or two wild
and P. communis
), widely distributed throughout Europe, and
sometimes forming part of the natural vegetation of the forests.
England, where an ancient pear tree gave its name to
Barr, a district of Birmingham) in Domesday, the pear is sometimes considered wild;
there is always the doubt that it may not really be so, but the
produce of some seed of a cultivated tree deposited by birds or
otherwise, which has germinated as a wild-form spine-bearing
Court accounts of Henry III of England
shipped from Rochelle
and presented to the
King by the Sheriffs of London. The French names of pears grown in
English medieval gardens suggests that their reputation, at the
least, was French; a favored variety in the accounts was named for
Saint Rule or Regul', bishop of
Asian species with medium to large edible fruit include P.
, P. ussuriensis
, P. ×sinkiangensis
Other small-fruited species are frequently used
as rootstocks for the cultivated species.
Pears are native to coastal and mildly temperate regions of the
, from western Europe
and north Africa
right across Asia
. They are medium sized trees,
reaching 10–17 m tall, often with a tall, narrow crown; a few
species are shrubby
. The leaves
are alternately arranged, simple, 2–12 cm
long, glossy green on some species, densely silvery-hairy in some
others; leaf shape varies from broad oval to narrow lanceolate.
Most pears are deciduous
, but one or two
species in southeast Asia are evergreen
Most are cold-hardy, withstanding temperatures between −25 °C and
−40 °C in winter, except for the evergreen species, which only
tolerate temperatures down to about −15 °C.The flowers
are white, rarely tinted yellow or pink,
2–4 cm diameter, and have five petals. Like that of the
, the pear fruit is a pome
, in most wild species 1–4 cm diameter, but in
some cultivated forms up to 18 cm long and 8 cm broad;
the shape varies in most species from oblate or globose, to the
classic pyriform 'pear-shape
' of the
with an elongated basal
portion and a bulbous end.
The fruit is composed of the receptacle or upper end of the
flower-stalk (the so-called calyx
tube) greatly dilated. Enclosed within its cellular flesh is the
true fruit: five cartilaginous
, known colloquially as the "core".
From the upper rim of the receptacle are given off the five
, the five petals
and the very numerous stamens
The pear is very similar to the apple
Pears and apples cannot always be distinguished by the form of the
fruit; some pears look very much like some apples. One major
difference is that pears have "grit" - clusters of lignified cells
. Pear trees and apple trees do have several visible differences.
The pear and the apple are also related to the quince
. Another interesting difference is that
apples, when placed carefully in water, will float; pears will
There are about 30 primary species, major subspecies, and naturally
occurring interspecific hybrids of pears.
Major recognized taxa
The pear may be readily raised by sowing the pips (seeds) of
ordinary cultivated or of wilding kinds, these forming what are
known as free or pear stocks, on which the choicer varieties are
for increase. For new varieties the
flowers can be cross-bred
or combine desirable traits. The fruit of the pear is produced on
spurs, which appear on shoots more than one year old.
Three species account for the vast majority of edible fruit
production, the European Pear
in Europe and North America
Chinese white pear (bai li) Pyrus ×bretschneideri
, and the
Nashi Pear Pyrus pyrifolia
known as Asian Pear or Apple Pear), both grown mainly in eastern
Asia. There are thousands of cultivars
these three species. A species grown in western China, P.
, and P. pashia
, grown in southern China
and south Asia, are also produced to a lesser degree.
Other species are used as rootstocks
European and Asian pears and as ornamental trees
. The Siberian Pear
, Pyrus ussuriensis
(which produces unpalatable fruit) has been crossed with Pyrus
to breed hardier pear cultivars. The Bradford Pear
'Bradford') in particular has become widespread in North America
and is used only as an ornamental tree. The Willow-leafed Pear
) is grown for its attractive slender, densely
Summer and autumn pears are gathered before they are fully ripe,
while they are still green, but snap off when lifted. If left to
ripen and turn yellow on the tree, the sugars will turn to starch
crystals and the pear will have a gritty texture inside.
case of the 'Passe Crassane', long the favored winter pear in
France, the crop should be gathered at three different
times, the first a fortnight or more before it is ripe, the second
a week or ten days after that, and the third when fully
The first gathering will come into eating last, and
thus the season of the fruit may be considerably prolonged.
Diseases and pests
Pears are consumed fresh, canned, as juice
. The juice can also be used in
, usually in combination with other fruits or
berries. Fermented pear juice is called perry
or pear cider.
Pears will ripen faster
if placed next to
in a fruit bowl. They stay fresh
longer if kept in a fridge
is one of the preferred materials in
the manufacture of high-quality woodwind
instruments and furniture
. It is also used
for wood carving, and as a firewood
produce aromatic smoke for smoking meat or tobacco
The culinary or cooking pear is green but dry and hard and only
edible after several hours of cooking. Two Dutch cultivars are
"Gieser Wildeman" and "Saint Remy".
Gieser Wildeman simmered in red wine.
Pears are rich in Vitamin A
, Vitamin C
, E1, copper
Pears are less allergenic
than many other
fruits, and pear juice is therefore sometimes used as the first
juice introduced to infants, but juice for infants is not
recommended by some pediatricians. Pears are low in salicylates
and are therefore recommended in
exclusion diets for allergy sufferers. Along with lamb
, pears may
form part of the strictest exclusion diet for allergy sufferers
although allergies to these foods are possible.
Pears can be useful in treating inflammation of mucous membranes
, chronic gallbladder disorders
, and gout
. Pears can
also be beneficial in lowering high
, controlling blood cholesterol
levels, and increasing urine
acidity. They are good for the lungs and the stomach.
Most of the fiber is insoluble, making pears a good laxative. The
gritty fiber content may cut down on the number of cancerous
. Most of the vitamin C
, as well as the dietary fiber, are
contained within the skin of the fruit.
- Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
- Evelyn Cecil, A History of Gardening in England
- Cecil 2006.
- P. Q. Samour, K. K. Helm, C. E. Lang (eds) 2003.
Handbook of Pediatric Nutrition, second edition, Aspen
Publishers, Inc, Gaithersburg, MD.
- A. R. Gibson, R. L. Clancy, 1978. An Australian
exclusion diet, The Medical Journal of Australia
- A. Morris 2008 A Guide to Suspected Food
Allergy, Surrey Allergy Clinic, U. K.
- wrongdiagnosis.com, rice allergy
- wrongdiagnosis.com, lamb allergy
- wrongdiagnosis.com, pear allergy
- Phyllis A. Balch, CNC/Prescription for dietary wellness.-2nd