Reprinted from: Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 92:266-267. 1979.
HYBRID PEAR CULTIVARS FOR FLORIDA
C. P. Andrews
IFAS, Agricultural Research Center,
Rt. 3, Box 213B,
Monticello, FL 32344
W. B. SHERMAN
IFAS, Fruit Crops Department,
University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611
Additional index words. Pyrus, fruit size, fruit ripening.
Abstract. Pear cultivars grown in the United Sides are generally classified into two groups, the European pear (Pyrus communis) and hybrid pears which originated as crosses between European cultivars and Oriental species (Pyrus serotina). Hybrid pears are not grown commercially in
Florida but on quite common as door-yard fruit trees. Limiting factors influencing pear production in Florida include chill requirement and disease resistance. Hybrid pears are adapted to north central and north Florida. Fireblight and leafspot are the two most important diseases limiting pear production in Florida. Cultivars 'Hood', 'Tenn', Selection 41-116 and Selection 57-49 have smooth-textured flesh and are recommended for eating as fresh fruit. 'Baldwin' and ’Carnes' are dual purpose cultivars having good dessert and canning quality, while 'Kieffer', 'Orient' and 'Pineapple' are recommended for canning.
Pear cultivars grown in the United States are generally classified into two groups, the European pear (Pyrus communis) and hybrid pears which originated as crosses between European varieties and oriental species. Oriental pears (Pyrus serotina) have not gained acceptance in this country because of inferior fruit quality. The European pear was brought to North America by the early settlers and has spread to parts of the continent where it is adapted. Oriental pears were introduced in the early to mid 1800‘s and soon alter began to cross-pollinate with the European pears to produce hybrids, many of which are adapted to the southern United States (4).
Although there is no commercial industry of pears in Florida, they are quite common as dooryard trees. Pears are adapted to north central and north Florida and are not recommended for home plantings south of Orlando, Florida (1). Cultivars adapted to Florida require a certain amount of chilling (hrs below 7.2°C [This is a little oversimplified. For more information read Dr. Couvillon's lecture on the subject circa 1985. -ASC]) during the dormant season for normal flower and leaf development. For example, ‘Baldwin’, 'Kieffer', and ‘Orient’ will usually receive sufficient cold in north Florida but not in central Florida. Perhaps the most limiting factor to pear production in the Southeast is fire-blight (Erwinia amylovora). Hybrid pear cultivars generally have more resistance to fire—blight than European cultivars. Resistance to leaf spot (Fabraca maculata) is also an important factor to consider in selecting cultivars for dooryard plantings. Most homeowners do not try to control either disease; thus resistance is very important. Fruit and tree characteristics of several hybrid cultivars evaluated at the Agricultural Research Center in Monticello and at the University of Florida in Gainesville are discussed in detail. Promising numbered selections from the pear breeding program at the University of Florida were also included in this study.
'Baldwin', origin undetermined, has medium to large size fruit (220-240 g) and is oblong in shape. Fruit are attractive- having a light green skin color overlaid with a light russet. Although not as smooth textured as ‘Hood' among the named varieties, fruit of ‘Baldwin' are of good quality eaten fresh or processed. The average date of full bloom is mid
to late March in north Florida, similar to ‘Carnes' and 'Orient'. Due to the high chill requirement, 'Baldwin' is not recommended for central or south Florida. Fruit ripens
over a long rind of time in August and September. 'Baldwin' produces medium size crops and trees have moderate resistance to both lire-blight and leaf spot.
While the origin and parentage of ‘Carnes' is undetermined, fruit are of medium size (160 g) and round in shape. Skin color is yellowish-green with a light russct while the
flush is firm and medium course in texture and flavorful. Fruit can be eaten fresh if allowed to ripen in storage or canned. Full bloom occurs in mid to late March in most
years at Monticello. Fruit ripen in July, slightly later than ‘Hood’. Trees are upright in growth and have moderate resistance to fire-blight. Leaf spot has been severe in some years in north Florida.
'Hood’, parentage undetermined, is an early ripening pear and is the best fresh eating pear of the named varieties grown in Florida. Fruit are large (260 g), yellow-green in color with a juicy, smooth textured flesh. The average date of full bloom is mid March in north Florida, with ‘Pineapple’. Fruit ripen in mid-July. Limb breakage has been observed in some years under a heavy crop load. ‘Hood' has moderate resistance to fire-blight while leaf spot may cause light defoliation in some years.
‘Kieffer' originated in Roxborough, Pennsylvania by Peter Kieffer and was introduced in 1876. The seed parent was an Oriental pear (3). Fruit are large (250-260 g) and roundish, tapering at both ends. Skin is thick, yellow-green in color with a dull red blush on the exposed side. Flesh is juicy, coarse and of poor quality for fresh fruit. ‘Kieffer’ is recommended for canning only. Average date of full bloom is late March and this is the last cultivar to bloom each year. ‘Kieffer’ appears to have a higher chill requirement than the other cultivars under evaluation at Monticello. Fruit begin to ripen in mid-August. Trees are vigorous and upright in growth. ‘Kieffer’ is susceptible to fire—blight but has fair resistance to leaf spot. Because of the chill requirement, ‘Kieffer’ is recommended for north Florida only.
'Orient' originated in Chico, California by Walter Van Fleet of the Plant Introduction Garden, U.S.D.A. It was
introduced in 1945 through the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station. 'Orient' originated from a cross of Pyrus communis x Pyrus sp. from China and the direction of the cross is unknown (2). Fruit are large (270-290 g) and nearly round. Skin is thick, roughened and greenish in color while flesh is firm, juicy and medium coarse in texture. ‘Orient' is recommended for canning but can be eaten fresh if allowed to ripen in storage. The average date of full bloom in Monticello is early to mid March, 2 to 3 days before ‘Kieffer’ and a week after ‘Hood’ and ‘Pineapple'. Fruit ripens in late July or early August. Trees are vigorous and productive with a distinctive willowy appearance under a full crop load. ‘Orient' appears to have good resistance to both fire-blight and leaf spot. ‘Orient’ is recommended for planting in north Florida.
While the origin, parentage, and introduction are unknown, the 'Pineapple' cultivar is very similar to other
Pyrus serotina x Pyrus communis hybrids in fruit and tree characters (4). Fruit are medium to large (210-220 g), round and narrowing at both ends Skill is thick, yellow in color with russet dots and attractive. Flesh is white, firm and coarse in texture. ‘Pineapple' is excellent for canning but poor in dessert quality. Full bloom occurs in early March, usually with ‘Hood’ and 10-14 days before ‘Kieffer'. Harvest dates average early August in north Florida. Not only is ‘Pineapple' resistant to fire-blight. but it also appears to
be moderately resistant to leaf spot.
Selection 41-116 originated in Gainesville, Florida by Ralph H. Sharpe of the University of Florida. It resulted from a cross made in the 1950's of ‘Hood‘ by ‘Tenn’. Fruit are small in size (110 g) with a light green skin color and attractive. Selection 41—116 has excellent fresh eating quality with a smooth textured flesh. The average date of full bloom in the Gainesville area is early March while fruit ripens in July. Selection 41-116 appears to have moderate resistance to both fire-blight and leaf spot.
Selection 57-49 originated in Gainesville, Florida by Ralph H. Sharpe of the University of Florida. It resulted from a cross of ‘Tenn' by an unnamed ‘Hood‘ seedling. Fruit are large, bronze in color and attractive. Fruit of Selection 57-49 have good flavor, smooth texture and are recommended for eating fresh. The average date of full bloom in north Florida is mid March, similar to ‘Hood’. Harvest date is September and trees appear to have moderate resistance to both fire~blight and leaf spot.
Selection 57-50 originated in Gainesville, Florida by Ralph H. Sharpe of the University of Florida. Selection 57-50, a sister seedling of Selection 57-49, also resulted from the cross of ‘Tenn' by an un-named ‘Hood’ seedling. Fruit are large (240 g), bronze in color overlaid with a light red blush. Flesh is smooth in texture and has good flavor. Full bloom occurs in late March at Monticello with harvest in October. Selection 57:50 is the latest ripening selection currently under evaluation in north Florida. Trees have moderate resistance to fire-blight and leaf spot.
'Tenn' originated in Knoxville, Tennessee by Brooks D. Drain of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station but the correct parentage is unknown. Fruit are small in size (120 g) and have a greenish-yellow ground color with a 30% red blush. Fruit has excellent flavor and quality with a smooth buttery texture and few grit cells. The average date of. full bloom is early March in Gainesville with fruit ripening in early September. The true is spreading in growth, resistance to fire-blight and has moderate resistance to leaf spot.
1. Andrews, C.P. and T. E. Crocker. 1978. Pears for Florida. Fruit Crops Fact Sheet FC-29.
2. Brooks, R. M. and H. P. Olmo. 1972. Register of New Fruit and Nut Varieties. University of California Press, Berkeley.
3. Hedrick, U.P. 1921. The Pears of New York. New York Agricultural Experiment Station Vol. 2.
4. Woodroof, J.G. 1923. The 'Pineapple' pear. Georgia Experiment Station Bulletin No. 142.