SPECIES OF PEARS AND THEIR CHARACTERS
The pear belongs to the great order Rosaceae, the Rose Family. There are about ninety genera in this family, the most important of all botanical groups to growers of hardy fruits, of which ten or twelve bear pome-fruits. Of the genera whose fruits are pomes, only two contain important hardy fruits, namely, Pyrus, to which belong apples, crab-apples, and pears; and Cydonia, the quince. Three other genera are of lesser importance, but must be named to show their relationship to the pear. These are Mespilus, the medlar, grown in Europe but little known in America; Chaenomeles, the Japanese quince, well known as an ornamental, the fruits of which are used for conserves; and Amelanchier, the Juneberry, a common fruit in American forests. One other genus in this family has possibilities for domestication but is not yet cultivated for its fruits in America. This is Crataegus, comprising the hawthorns and thorn-apples, the fruits of which are edible and several species of which are cultivated in various parts of the world as food plants.
Nearly every botanist who has attempted to classify plants has grouped the pome-fruits according to a plan of his own. There are, therefore, several classifications of genera and species of the pomes, in consequence of which the nomenclature is badly confused. A century ago the tendency was for botanists to put in the genus Pyrus the apple, pear, crab-apple, quince, medlar, sorbus, and chokeberry. The modern tendency is to segregate these fruits in distinct genera in accordance with common names. As a rule the differences which suggest a distinct common name suffice for a botanical division.
The pear and apple, however, are usually kept together in
Pyrus, and botanists generally agree that separation in species is
sufficient, or, at most, that the separation should not be greater than
in two sections of the genus. Happily, the difficulties of
classification in botany trouble little or not at all in pomology, as
each of the pome-fruits constitutes a distinct pomological group. The
distinguishing characters of Pyrus are:
Woody plants, trees or shrubs, with smooth or scaly bark. Leaves simple, or sometimes lobed, alternate, usually serrate, deciduous, with deciduous stipules which are free from the petiole. Flowers perfect, regular, borne in compound terminal cymes; torus urn-shaped, adnate to the ovary and inclosing it with thick, succulent flesh at maturity; calyx-lobes 5, acuminate and reflexed, persistent in some and deciduous in other species; petals 5, white, pink or red, inserted on the thickened border of the disk; stamens 15 to 20, in three rows; styles 2 to 5, free or united below; carpels 2 to 5, inferior, crowned by the styles, usually 2-seeded. Fruit an ovoid or pyriform pome; seeds two in each cell, brown or brownish, lustrous, mucilaginous on the outer surface.
The genus comprises fifty to sixty species in the north temperate zone of the three continents. The largest number is found in south-central and eastern Asia. In North America, Pyrus is represented by five species, while eight or nine species inhabit Europe. In several of the species there are many natural varieties. The two sections of Pyrus, given the rank of genera by some authors, are distinguished as follows:
1. Apples (Malus). Flowers pink, rose-color, red or sometimes white, borne in fascicles or subumbellate clusters on short spurs or lateral branchlets; ovary 3- to 5-celled; styles more or less united at the base. Fruit more or less globular with a distinct depression at both ends, the flesh without grit cells, rounded at the base. The species in this section number 30 to 40, of which not more than a half dozen are domesticated-
2. Pears (Pyrus). Flowers white, few, borne in corymbs on short spurs or lateral branchlets; ovary 5-celled; styles usually free. Fruit usually pyriform, sometimes sub-globose, usually conical at the base, the flesh usually bearing grit cells when ripened on the tree. The species number 15 to 20 of which but two are truly domesticated, but several others give promise of value for stocks and possibly for their fruits.
THE STRUCTURAL BOTANY OF THE PEAR
A major purpose in The Pears of New York is to describe varieties of pears so that their faults and merits can be seen, and that varieties may be identified. It is apparent at once that one cannot describe accurately nor understand the descriptions of others unless acquainted with the organs of tree and fruit one must know the form and structure of the whole plant. A study of the organs of plants is structural botany. Plant descriptions are portraitures of the plant's organs, and structural botany thus becomes the foundation of systematic pomology, with a study of which, as concerns the pear, we are to be chiefly concerned in the following pages. We must, therefore, pay some attention to the structural botany of the pear. A pear is one of the pome-fruits. What is a pome?
A pome is variously defined by students of structural botany. The most conspicuous part of the apple, pear, or quince, the best-known pome-fruits, is the outer, fleshy, edible part. This succulent part is said by some botanists to be the thickened calyx; others say that it is the enlarged receptacle. Some botanists believe that a pome consists of two to five drupe-like fruits, each drupe called a carpel, each of which contains one or more seeds. These drupes, if they are rightly so-named, are held together by a fleshy receptacle. The best definition seems to be that a pome is a fleshy fruit of which the compound ovary is borne within and connected to the receptacle.
CHARACTERS OF PEAR-TREES
Pome-fruits are all woody plants, shrubby or tree-like, of which the pear is always a tree. The value of the variety and the recognition of it usually depend on characters of the fruits, but the trees are nearly as distinct as the fruits, are always helpful in identification, and in the absence of fruit must be relied upon to identify a variety. Also, and even more important, the pear-grower must know whether the plant is manageable in the orchard, for which purpose he must have a description of the chief characters of the tree.
Size and habit of tree. Size of tree is a very reliable character to determine varieties of pears. The Winter Nelis pear is dwarf as compared with other pears. Size varies greatly with environment, it must be remembered in using this character. The terms large, small, and medium are commonly used to designate size. Vigor, which may be defined as internal energy, must not be confused with size. Small trees may be as vigorous as large ones.
The term habit of growth, as used by pomologists, has reference to the form of the top. In describing the tops of pear-trees a number of self-explanatory terms are used, such as pyramidal, upright-spreading, drooping, tall, low, dense, open-topped, and round-topped. Many if not most varieties of pears may be told by the form of the top. One can tell Bartlett or Clapp Favorite at a glance by their upright branches; as one can, also, Beurré d'Anjou and Beurre Superfin by their wide-spreading branches; or Winter Nelis pear by its drooping branches. Depending upon the form of the top, a variety is easy or difficult to manage in an orchard.
Constitutional characters. Hardiness, productiveness, susceptibility to pests, adaptability to diverse soils and climates are vaguely supposed to be dependent on the constitution of the tree. Pomologists very generally refer to these characters as constitutional. They speak of the constitution as the aggregate of the vital powers of a variety.
Horticulturally, hardiness is ability to withstand cold. Obviously, hardiness is of utmost importance in characterizing the value of a variety to the pear-grower, and degree of hardiness is of some use in identifying pears. Bartlett and Beurre Bosc are relatively tender to cold, Tyson is hardy, and Flemish Beauty is very hardy. Less important, but still of some importance, is the ability to withstand heat, a character possessed in varying degrees by varieties of pears.
Productiveness, age of bearing, regularity of bearing, certainty of bearing, and longevity are constitutional characters that must be noted in full descriptions. All help to determine the value of a variety, and all aid more or less in classification. For most part, these are inherent characters and are influenced but little by environment.
The degree of susceptibility of a variety to fungous diseases and insect pests is a valuable cultural character, but has little use in identifying or classifying pears. There are great variations in varieties of pears to the dreaded pear-blight: Bartlett, Beurre Bosc, Beurre d'Anjou, and Clapp Favorite are among the varieties most susceptible; Kieffer, Seckel, and Winter Nelis are among those least susceptible to blight. Kieffer and related hybrids are somewhat immune to San Jose scale, but are very susceptible to psylla. Flemish Beauty and White Doyenne are so badly attacked by the scab-fungus that it is almost impossible to grow them in eastern America.
Some of these constitutional characters are much modified by care and environment, as all are more or less. Care and local environment often make it possible to grow varieties in special localities, although some varieties are inherently adapted to a greater number of diverse conditions than others. Bartlett, Seckel, and Kieffer have in common as one of their most valuable characters adaptability to a great diversity of soils and climates.
Trunk and branch. The trunk does not count for much in descriptions of varieties. The height of the trunk usually depends on the whims of the pruner. Whether stout or slender is sometimes noteworthy. The bark may be smooth or shaggy. Color of bark is often a valuable diagnostic character, especially in young trees. Many if not most varieties of pears can be identified in nursery rows by an expert nurseryman from the color of the bark. Seckel, Sheldon, and Beurre d'Anjou have remarkably distinctive color as young trees.
The branches of pear-trees are often reliable guides in identifying varieties in orchard or nursery, especially when trees are leafless and fruitless. The twisting, drooping branches of Winter Nelis serve to identify that variety at any time. The zigzag branches of Beurre d'Anjou and Bloodgood are typical. The branches of Beurre Superfin are rough and shaggy. Those of Dorset and Fox are slender. The branches of several well-known pears are spiny. A glance through the technical descriptions in Chapter IV shows that branches and branchlets are variously colored. The branchlets may be stout or slender, long-jointed or short-jointed, pubescent or glabrous, straight or zigzag. The angle at which branchlets are set is often characteristic. The epidermis may be smooth or covered with scarf-skin. Lastly, the size, shape, color, number, and position of the corky cells or lenticels on young wood is most important in identifying trees after leaves have fallen.
Leaf-buds and leaves. Size, length, and shape of leaf-buds are helpful in identifying varieties when the trees are dormant. There is considerable difference in the length of buds of different varieties, and they may vary in thickness; some are plump, others are slender. The shape can usually be described as acute, pointed, obtuse, or conical. If the bud lies close to the twig, it is said to be appressed; if it stands from the twig at a considerable angle, it is free. In some varieties the leaf-scar is conspicuous; in others, it is inconspicuous.
While leaves vary much in accordance with the condition of the plant which bears them, yet they offer a number of valuable distinguishing characters. It is important in making use of leaves to take only those borne on free-growing twigs, as those growing on luxuriant water-sprouts on the one hand, or on slow-growing spurs on the other are seldom typical.
The size of the leaf is a most valuable determinant of varieties of pears. Length and breadth should be given in figures. The shape should be depicted in carefully chosen words. The body of the leaf is usually ovate or oval, but these shapes must nearly always be modified by broad or narrow, long or short. The apex requires a descriptive word or two; as, taper-pointed, acute, or obtuse. Thickness and texture are sometimes noteworthy. The texture is usually described as stiff, leathery, or pliant. Sometimes the leaves are flat; sometimes folded upward, and rarely they are folded downward. The color of both the upper and lower surfaces is often important; and the amount of pubescence, if present, must always be noted on the two surfaces. The autumnal tint is a marked characteristic in some varieties. The margins offer valuable evidence for identification in the character of the serrations which are usually distinct in a variety. Sometimes glands and hairs are found on the margins, in which case they are usually noteworthy. The time of appearance and the fall of leaves are life events that distinguish some varieties. Leaves are many in some sorts; few in others. The length, thickness, color of the petiole and whether it is smooth, pubescent or channeled are usually worth noting. The presence and the size and color of stipules are often important enough to record. The petioles of pear leaves are larger and slenderer than those of the apple, and the foliage of a pear-tree has something of the tremulous habit of the aspen and other poplars. The leaves have a gloss that distinguishes them at once from those of the apple-tree. As a rule, the foliage of the pear drops earlier in the autumn than that of the apple.
When the leaves of pears open in the spring they are folded along the midrib, and are covered with snow-white wool, but at full maturity no trace of this woolly covering remains. The amount and texture of this covering on the leaves of different varieties vary greatly, although it is doubtful if this character is of much use for taxonomic purposes.
Flower-buds and flowers. It is not possible to distinguish flower-buds from leaf-buds by their external appearance as certainly as might be wished for the purposes of ascertaining what the crop will be and that pruning and budding may be done more intelligently. As a rule, however, the flower-buds are larger, plumper, and have a blunter point. The flower-buds are much like leaf-buds in color usually a dark brown. They may be readily told by their contents when examined under a microscope. Time of opening is a mark of distinction with varieties that bloom very early or very late, but the flowers of most varieties of pears open at approximately the same time.
The flowers of pears give small opportunity to identify varieties but are useful. The petals in most of the flowers of varieties of P. communis meet or lap at the widest point, which is a short distance from the point of attachment. Occasionally a variety has the petals widely separated. Easter Beurre, Vermont Beauty, and Dana Hovey are examples of varieties with widely-separated petals. Round and broadly-oval petals meet or lap, long narrow petals are usually separated. The size, shape, and color of the petals offer the best means of identification from flowers. The length, thickness, and amount and kind of pubescence on the styles may distinguish varieties. The styles of the Howell pear are abnormally short. The number of flowers in a cluster, and whether the cluster is dense or loose are important. The character of the fruit-spurs is nearly always noteworthy. The calyx-tubes, calyx-lobes, and pedicels differ materially. These structures in the flower, while offering decisive evidence in identification, are seldom used by pomologists because character of plant and fruit may be studied during a much longer time and are of greater cultural importance. In the blooming season, length, diameter, and the pubescence of stamens may be noted, but much more important taxonomically is the position of the stamens on the calyx-tube in the mature fruit. These organs, or remnants of them, persist in the ripened fruits, as will be noted in the discussion of characters of the fruit. Lastly, some varieties may be told during the blooming season by the distribution of the blossoms on the tree. The flowers of many varieties are borne on the periphery of the tree, and give the plant an aspect by which one may recognize the variety at once.
If a variety is not noteworthy in the characters for which the fruit is grown those which appeal to the senses of taste and sight it has small chance of being cultivated long or widely. Hence, especial attention is paid to descriptions of the fruit. Some pomologists describe varieties only from the fruit, saying little or nothing about the plant.
FRUIT-CHARACTERS OF POMES
Season and use. Perhaps season is the first, and certainly it is one of the most important characters to be noted in the ripened fruit. By season is meant the period in which a variety is in proper condition for use. Unless otherwise stated, season has reference to the period during which fruit is in condition in ordinary storage, as it is understood that cold-storage greatly prolongs the natural season. The terms summer, fall, and winter, sometimes modified by early or late, give the season with sufficient accuracy. Keeping quality and shipping quality, both dependent on several factors, are usually mentioned in connection with season.
Rather closely connected with season is use. The uses for which a variety is particularly suited should always be indicated. Thus, a market variety is one suitable for the general market; a local market sort is one which does not stand handling well enough for the general market but is acceptable in local trade. A variety for dessert or table is suitable for eating in the uncooked state; cooking or kitchen varieties are desirable for culinary purposes.
Size and shape of fruit. Of external characters of pears, size is important if several typical specimens can be examined, but is often misleading because under the stress of environment abnormal specimens may be produced. Gradations in size are expressed by the terms large, medium, and small, modified by very, above, and below. Used in connection with size, uniform signifies that the fruit of a variety runs fairly even in the same size.
Shape is the most important character in describing the fruit. It may be used with immature as well as mature specimens. In determining the shape of the fruit, the pear should be held opposite to the eye perpendicular to the diameter from stem to calyx; or the fruit may be cut longitudinally at its widest diameter. The shape of the body of the pear is usually described first, followed by a description of the narrow part bearing the stem, if this neck is prominent enough to be noteworthy. A pear is pyriform when the curve formed by the body and neck is concave; turbinate, or top-shaped, when the body is nearly round with a short neck. The neck may be long or short, distinct or obscure, obtuse or acute. Sheldon is typically turbinate; Beurre d'Anjou, Beurré Bosc, and Bartlett are all pyriform.
A graphic record should accompany a description of the fruit to show size and shape. A simple outline drawing serves the purpose.
The stem. Varying as little as any other character of the pear, the stem is much used in identification. It may be long and slender, as in the Beurre Bosc; short and thick, as in Doyenne du Comice; fleshy, as in Louise Bonne de Jersey; clubbed, when enlarged at the end; and lipped when the flesh forms a protuberance under which the stem is inserted. The stems of pears are often set obliquely as in Beurre Clairgeau; or are crooked or curved as in Howell. In a few varieties the stems are channeled. The stems of some pears have distinguishing colors, those of others are pubescent. In some pears, as Souvenir d'Esperen, there are bud-like projections on the stem.
The length of the stem in pears is a reliable diagnostic character only when it is known from what part of the flower-cluster the fruit was developed. For, as a rule, the nearer the flower to the tip of the raceme in the pear, the shorter the stem on the fruit.
Cavity and basin. The cavity, the depression in which the stem is set, offers several marks which greatly enhance the value of a description of any of the pears. The cavity may be acute or obtuse; shallow, medium, or deep; narrow, medium, or broad; smooth or russeted; furrowed, ribbed, angular, or uniform; or it may be lipped as described under stem. The color of the skin within the cavity is sometimes different from that without, and there may be radiating lines, rays, or streaks.
The basin, the depression in which the calyx is set, is as important as the cavity in classifying pears and is described by the same terms. The furrows in the basin are sometimes indistinct and are then called wavy. The skin around the calyx-lobes may be wrinkled, plaited, folded, or corrugated. Rarely, there are fleshy protuberances about the calyx-lobes called mammiform appendages.
Calyx-lobes. The withered calyx-lobes persist in some pears and not in others. They persist in European pears, but are deciduous in the edible-fruited Asiatic species. The calyx-lobes may be open, partly open, or closed in varieties of the fruits in which they are persistent. In some varieties the segments are separated at the base; in others, united. The lobes may lie flat on the fruit or may stand erect. When upright, if the tips incline inward the lobes are said to be connivent; if inclined outward, they are reflexed, of divergent. The lobes may be broad or narrow, with tips acute or accuminate.
Characters of the skin. The skin of all pears offers several most valuable features for classification. Of these characters, color is the most important. Perhaps no character of fruits varies more in accordance with environment than the color, yet the color itself and the way in which it is distributed on the fruit, serve to make this character a fairly safe distinguishing mark for most varieties of pears. The ground-color of pears is the green or yellow-green of chlorophyll, usually with an over-color of tints and shades of yellow or red. The over-color may be laid on in stripes, splashes, or streaks; as a blush; may mottle the surface; or may be a single color, in which case the fruit is said to be self-colored. In nearly all varieties of colored pears, it is not an uncommon anomaly to find trees under some conditions bearing green fruits. Usually, in pears, the color is laid on solidly; very few varieties have striped or splashed fruits.
The skin may be thick or thin, tough or tender. In a few varieties it is relatively free from the flesh, but with most clings tightly. The surface of the skin is often waxy or oily. This character must not be confused with waxen which refers to the glossy appearance of the skin.
Some pears have an unbroken russet surface as Beurre Bosc and Sheldon. Or, the surface may be rough because of minute russet dots or netted veins. With many sorts, the cavity alone is russeted. Sometimes the russet of the cavity is spread out in radiating lines.
Nearly all pears have few or many dots on the skin, notes on which may enhance the value of a description. These may be obscure or conspicuous, large or small, raised or sunken. If visible under the epidermis, THE PEARS OF NEW YORK they are said to be submerged. When star-like, they are called stellate. If surrounded by a halo of lighter color, they are said to be areolar. In some varieties, the dots are elongated. Very often the dots are russeted. The roughened outer skin, called scarf'-skin, gives a distinguishing appearance to a few pears.
Cutting pears to show the internal structure. When varieties cannot be distinguished from external marks, there are several very reliable characters that can be made use of in the internal anatomy of the fruits. To study these it is necessary to make a longitudinal and a transverse section of the pear. To make an accurate examination of the internal structure, the sectioning must be done with a keen, thin knife, with a steady hand, and a good eye.
In making the longitudinal section the knife should pass through the center of the calyx, showing the remnants of styles and stamens; through the middle of the core cell, showing the outline of the core cavity; and through the middle of the stem. A true record cannot be obtained, unless the organs named are divided fairly accurately in halves. In making the transverse section, the knife should pass through the widest diameter of the fruit, cutting the core in half. If the core is not in the center of the fruit, trial cuts to locate it must be made that it may be halved exactly.
The stamens, calyx-tube, and styles. After halving the fruit longitudinally, the first organs to be studied are the stamens, the position of which furnishes reliable taxonomic data in apples and is occasionally worth noting in pears. Passing from the stamens to the calyx-tube, it will be found that the shape of this structure is of some use in separating varieties, although it is exceedingly variable in accordance with the size of the pear, and is materially altered by abnormalities in the fruit. The base of the styles in some varieties develop into fleshy tissue which alters the shape of the calyx-tube. The calyx-tube may be cone-shaped, funnel-shaped, or urn-shaped. When funnel-shaped, the broad upper part is called the limb; the narrow lower part, the cylinder. In some varieties the remnants of the styles are often more or less fleshy and form a point, called the pistil point, which projects into the calyx-tube.
The core. The position of the core in the fruit is often a valuable means of distinguishing varieties. If close to the stem, the core is said to be sessile; if at the center of the pome, it is median; when distant from the stem, distant.
The cell containing seed, called a carpel, is morphologically a modified leaf, which, by folding together and by union of its edges forms a closed receptacle. In some varieties, the carpels are open; in others closed. If the tip of the carpel is indented, it is said to be emarginate; if long and pointed, mucronate. In shape, carpels may be round, cordate, obcordate, elliptical, oblong, elongated, ovate, or obovate. In the cores of most pomes there is a central cavity called the core cavity, sometimes spoken of as the axial sac which may be either narrow, wide, or lacking. This is a character of much importance and reliability in pears. When the carpels extend quite to the axis of the fruit, they are said to be axile and there is no core cavity; when distant from the axis, they are abaxile and a core cavity is formed. Sometimes the carpel is lined on the inner surface with a white substance, when it is said to be tufted. In some pears, there are many fine hairs in the core-cavity in which case the cavity is said to be tufted.
The limits of the core are marked by a line in most pome-fruits usually very distinct in apples and quinces which in most varieties of pears is indistinct. The area enclosed by this line may be large or small and may be variously shaped. When the core-line joins the calyx-tube along the sides, it is said to be clasping; when the two ends of the line meet at the base of the calyx-tube, the expression core-lines meeting is used. The core-line in pears is nearly always, if not always, clasping and very often it is a more or less thickened area of grit-cells.
Seeds. Seeds are characteristic in all varieties of pears and might well be used more generally than is the case in classification. The number is exceedingly variable in different varieties. The usual number is two in each cell, but often there are three or more and occasionally they are missing. Seeds vary greatly in different varieties in size, shape, and color, and differences in these characters are as constant as are those of any other organ of the fruit. Number, size, .shape, and color of seeds should be noted with care in every technical description of a pear. The point of the seed, also, is worth noting; it may be acute, acuminate, or obtuse. Like the carpels, the seeds are often tufted. There are several so-called seedless pears, but all of these occasionally contain some seeds. Very often seedlessness is brought about by lack of proper pollination. An occasional fruit without seeds is found in nearly all varieties, but these fruits are usually more or less abnormal in size or shape.
Flesh. Most pears may be identified from the flesh-characters without a glance at any other part of fruit or plant. Flavor, odor, and texture of flesh are distinct in almost every variety, and appeal more strongly to the senses of taste and smell than characters measured by the eye do. to the sight. Unfortunately, flavors, odors, and textures are difficult to describe.
All characters of the flesh vary greatly in accordance with conditions of growth, soil and climate having a profound influence on texture, flavor, and quality. It is important, also, in describing the flesh to have the fruit at the proper stage of maturity, and as immaturity verges into maturity and maturity into decay almost imperceptibly, each condition affecting the flesh, it is not surprising that differences of opinion may be many in judging the flesh-characters of a fruit.
In cutting a pear the color of the flesh is first noted. It may be nearly white, as in Flemish Beauty; tinged with yellow, as in Tyson; greenish-white as in Bartlett; or tinged with red, as in Josephine de Malines. Pears with red flesh are occasionally found, but no standard varieties have flesh of this color. Sanguinole, grown more or less in Europe, has flesh of a wine-red color. Very often the texture of pear-flesh is marred by grittiness to which some varieties are much more subject than others. In most cases, however, the grit-cells are abnormal, and a discussion of their presence and cause belongs under the head of diseases in another chapter.
One determines the nature of the texture by cutting the fruit, through pressure by the fingers, and by eating. The texture may be coarse or fine; tender or tough; crisp, breaking, melting, or almost buttery; dry or juicy.
Flavor and quality, Pears are readily divided into two classes as to flavor; they are either sweet or sour. The qualifying terms mildly and very are often used with sweet and sour. Subacid, tart, and sprightly are sometimes most expressive. Austere refers to a flavor more or less sour with some astringency. The flavor may often be put down as astringent. All varieties have a more or less distinct aroma. Rich and refreshing are words often found in the rather extensive vocabulary necessary to describe the flavor of this fruit.
Quality is that combination of texture, flavor, and aroma which makes a fruit pleasant to the palate. Quality is rated by common consent of pomologists by five grades: Poor, fair, good, very good, and best. It should be noted that good in this rating signifies a fruit of but medium quality.
The characters of pears are graphically shown on the opposite
page in a descriptive form filled out for Bartlett in a description of
this variety for The Pears of New York. This is, however, but a
skeleton, and most of the characters must be more fully described than
a form like this permits.
[I've slightly updated this form and put it live on the Web, if you want to add your own description/ evaluation of pears you encounter. -ASC]
Round topped Slow growing Rapid growing
VPrv Prndiictivft/WV Productive Unproductive Regular Bearer Uncertain Bearer
Glabrous within and without
Slightly pubescent within and withn;t
Heavily pubescent withm and wSt
LEAVES FALL Early
Longer, equal to, shorter than petals
Abruptly pointed Taper pointed
Longer than stamens Ecmal to Shorter t
Thickness Thick Medium
Upper Surface Light Green
LENGTH OF SEASON
NUMBER OF PICKINGS
HANGS WELL OR DROPS READILY. KEEPING QUALITY SHIPPING QUALITY. SUSCEPTIBILITY to
Crop on one year wood Hardy Half Hardy
Appressed or Free Arrangement
FLOWERS Time of Appearance Before With After leaves
Length of Blooming Season
Fertile or Sterile General Arrangement
distributed /?J+^ 7
ber of flowers per bud..6k#Sr.A./.
USECooking, Dessert, Market TYPE OF
Few pomologists in these days have the temerity to offer a description compiled in whole or in part. Descriptions are worth while only when made from living specimens before the eyes of the describer.
SPECIES OF PEARS
The foregoing pages discussing the characters of pears were preparation for a proper understanding of descriptions of pears. A discussion of the species which constitute or may constitute forms for cultivation either for their fruit or as stocks upon which to grow edible pears logically follows.
Edible pears fall into two well-marked groups: Those coming from Europe and northwestern Asia, occidental pears; and those coming from eastern and northeastern Asia, oriental pears.
In this group belong the thousands of varieties under common cultivation in Europe, the United States, and in temperate regions settled by Europeans. These pears are distinct from oriental pears in place of origin, and by fairly well-marked botanical characters. Thus, the leaves of these occidental pears are crenate-serrate and entire and never setose-serrate; and the calyx is persistent on the fruits. For most part, the fruits of the two divisions are quite distinct, especially in shape, but no constant line of cleavage can be found in the pears. There are several species of these occidental pears grown for their fruits or as ornamentals. Only one, however, is of great importance. This is P. communis, to a discussion of which we now come.
Tree vigorous, attaining a height of 50 ft. and a diameter of 2 ft., usually with an upright, oblong, or pyramidal, compact top; bark on trunk of mature trees rough, with large persistent scales; branches usually stout, thorny, variously colored, overlaid with scarf-skin; branchlets glossy, smooth, glabrous, with more or less conspicuous lenticels. Leaf-buds prominent, plump, obtuse or pointed, mostly free; leaf-scars conspicuous. Leaves 2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 2½ in. wide, oval or oblong-ovate, thin, hard or leathery, veiny; upper surface dark green, glabrous; lower surface light green, glabrous; both surfaces downy as the leaves open; apex acuminate; margins crenate-serrate or entire, never setose-serrate; teeth often tipped with small glands; petiole 1 to 2 in. long, slender. Flower-buds larger and plumper then leaf-buds; borne on fruiting spurs in dense or loose clustersof 4 to 10; flowers showy, 1 in. across, white or sometimes with tinge of pink; calyx persistent or rarely deciduous; styles distinct to the base, sometimes downy; stamens 15 to 20; pedicels 1 in. long, slender, sometimes pubescent.
Fruits exceedingly variable under cultivation; varying from 1 in. in length and diameter to 3 in. in diameter and 5 to 6 in. in length; variously shaped, as pyriform, turbinate, round-conic, or round-oblate; green, yellow, red, or russet, or combinations of these colors; flesh white, yellowish, sometimes pink or wine-red, rarely salmon-colored; flesh firm, melting, or buttery and when ripening on the tree with few or many grit-cells. Seeds 1 to 3 in a cell, sometimes abortive or wanting, large, brown, or brownish, often tufted at the tips.
Pyrus communis, the common pear, as stated in the preceding chapter, is a native of southern Europe and southwestern Asia as far east as Kashmir. The species is a frequent escape from cultivation, multiplying from seed distributed by animals and by human agencies, and is now to be found naturalized in forests and byways of the temperate zones wherever pears are cultivated in orchards. The pear is not as hardy as the apple, and is, therefore, less generally grown. It refuses to grow in the warmest and coldest parts of the temperate zones, but is a favorite orchard, dooryard, and roadside plant in all mid-temperate regions.
The species comes from regions or localities where the climate is mild and equable, neither very hot nor very cold, and grows in moist, cool, and rather heavy soils. These predilections cling to cultivated pears wherever grown, and pure-bred varieties do not thrive under other conditions. Wild or cultivated, the pear is a deep-rooted plant, a fact that must be taken into consideration in selecting orchard sites. On shallow soils pears thrive better on the shallow-rooted quince.
Few cultivated fruits have changed more under domestication than the common pear. The trees under cultivation are larger and much more vigorous, and the fruits in the best orchard varieties the consummation of the breeder's art would by no one be considered the same species if the two were found in the wild. The pears from truly wild trees in the Old World are small, nearly round, hard, gritty, sour, and astringent. Fruits from the run-wild trees from the chance transport of seeds in this country are scarcely more attractive to either eye or palate. The product of these wild trees can hardly be called edible fruits. Cultivated varieties seem to have been evolved, until the advent of Le Conte and Kieffer, only by cultivation and selection. All plants are improved more rapidly under hybridization than selection, and now that the hybridization of this pear with other species is in full swing, we may expect, for the New World at least, a new pear flora in the immediate future.
The pear supplies man not only an important article of food but also a refreshing drink. Perry, the expressed juice of pears, is a common drink in all European countries. It is used somewhat as a fruit-juice, but chiefly as a fermented beverage. Pear-juice is fermented in open casks and at the end of fermentation contains from six to twelve per cent of alcohol. In parts of England and France, special varieties are grown in considerable numbers for perry-making. The wood of the pear is hard, heavy, and close grained, for which qualities it is esteemed by turners and engravers and for fuel. A mature pear-tree is a beautiful ornamental, and few forest trees are nobler or more picturesque than an old specimen of this species with its great size and irregular, pyramidal top. A pear-tree has much merit for shade as well as an ornamental.
Pears are easy of culture and propagation, subjects to be discussed in full in the next chapter. A few words as to propagation are in place here to show the affinities of this species with other species and genera. The common pear readily inter-grafts with other pears, and its cions may be made to grow, though with difficulty, on the apple. A most noteworthy fact with this fruit is that though not easily grafted on the apple and some other pears, it unites readily with the quince and the hawthorn, both of which belongs to distinct genera. The common pear hybridizes freely with the oriental pear, but whether with other species does not appear. There are no records of the pear hybridizing with the apple, but there are trustworthy accounts of hybrids with the quince and with sorbus.
The classical name of the pear was Pirus, changed to Pyrus by Tournefort, after which it was adopted by Linnaeus, who established the genus and united with it the Malus and Cydonia of Tournefort. Fortunately there is no confusion in the botanical nomenclature of this fruit. Botanists agree, without notable divergence of opinion, on the generic and specific names of this fruit. There are several well-marked botanical varieties of Pyrus communis as well as a number of horticultural forms. The most prominent of these must be noted.
This variety, rather common in parts of Europe, is similar to the type in foliage but has globose fruits. The leaves differ somewhat in being more rounded and in having margins more serrate. The plant is often very thorny. Some botanists believe this form to be only an escape from cultivation.
PYRUS COMMUNIS SATIVA De Candolle
1. De Candolle Prod. 2:634. 1825.
This name is applied to the cultivated pear in its many pomological forms. The trees are usually larger than those of the wild pears and are without thorns. They differ also in having larger leaves, and larger and better-flavored fruits.
PYRUS COMMUNIS CORDATA Hooker
1. Hooker, J. D. Stud. Flora 131. 1878.
2. P. cordata Desvaux Obs. Pl. Anjou 152. 1818.
This botanical variety is a spiny shrub or shrub-like tree. The leaves are smaller than those of the species, 1 in. in width, suborbicular to ovate, subcordate at the base. Flowers smaller. Fruit globose or slightly turbinate, very small, ½ in. in diameter; calyx persistent. The species is a native of western France and is found in Devon and Cornwall, England. This species is said to propagate itself freely from root-suckers which suggests that it might be tried as a dwarfing stock for the common pears.
PYRUS COMMUNIS LONGIPES Henry
1. Henry Trees Gt. Brit. & Ire. 6:1561. 1912.
2. P. longipes Cosson and Durien Bull. Soc. Bot. France. 2:310. 1855.
The tree is small with a few spines. The leaves are about 2 in. long and 1 in wide, ovate, acuminate, subcordate, glabrous, finely and crenately serrate, on long slender petioles. This variety differs little from var. cordata in its fruit except in the deciduous calyx. It is found along the mountain streams of Algeria.
PYRUS COMMUNIS MARIANA Willkomm
1. Linnaea 25:25. 1852.
2. P. bourgaeana Decaisne Jar. Fruit, i.t. 2. 1871.
This is a small tree found in the Sierra Morena in Spain. The leaves are ovate, 1 in. in length, rounded at the base, on very long, slender petioles. The pear is very smal [sic] with a persistent calyx.
Tree small, stout, without thorns; young shoots thickly covered with white wool. Leaves oval or obovate, 2 to 3 in. long, ¾ to 1¼ in. wide, crenate at the base, entire, upper and lower surfaces covered with white wool when young, nearly glaucous and the upper surface shining when mature. Flowers white, 1½ in. across, clustered. Fruit roundish, yellowish-green, borne on a stalk as long or longer than the fruit, acid or becoming sweetish at full maturity.
This pear is a native of eastern Europe and Asia Minor and is often found in France as an escape from the orchard. The tree, which sometimes attains a height of fifty feet, is said to be a handsome ornamental. The species is sometimes under cultivation in France for the fruits which make very good perry, and when bletted, as is the medlar, are suitable for dessert. In Austria and adjoining parts of Germany, the species is somewhat cultivated for the same purposes as in France under the name Schnee birn or Snow pear, because not fit to eat until snow falls. This pear might have value to hybridize with common pears for the improvement of their fruit.
Botanists are not quite certain of the botanical standing of P. nivalis. By some botanists it is considered a cultivated form of P. elæagrifolia Pallas. By others it is thought to be a cross of which P. communis is one parent. P. salvifolia De Candolle is either closely allied to or identical with this species. P. kotschyana Boissier differs from P. nivalis chiefly in having smaller and harder fruits. P. elæagrifolia Pallas is distinguished by some botanists from P. kotschyana only by its spiny branches not a constant character.
3. PYRUS AURICULARIS Knoop
1. Pomol. 2:38. 1763.
2. P. irregularis Muenchhausen Hausvater 5:246. 1770.
3. P. pollveria Linnaeus Mant. 2:244. 1771.
4. P. bollwyleriana De Candolle Fl. France Suppl. 5:530. 1815.
A tree 30 to 50 ft. high, forming a round head; branchlets and buds downy. Leaves ovate or oval, 3 to 4 in. long, 2 to 2½ in. wide; pointed, irregular, and coarsely and sometimes doubly toothed; upper surface glossy, dark green, with glands on the midrib, glabrous at maturity, downy when young; lower surface permanently covered with gray tomentum; stalk 1 to 1½ in. long, woolly. Flowers white, nearly 1 in. across, 5 to 20 in tomentose corymbs; sepals covered with pure white wool on both surfaces; styles 2 to 5, united and tomentose at the base; stamens rosy red. Fruit pyriform, 1 to 1½ in. in diameter; stalk 1 to 1½ in. long, reddish yellow; flesh yellow, sweet.
This tree is an interesting hybrid between P. communis and the whitebeam, P. aria. It was first noticed at Bollweiler, Alsace, and was first mentioned by J. Bauhin in 1619. It is propagated by grafts as few of the seeds are fertile and these do not come true to name. It bears fruit very sparingly, none being produced in some seasons.
Besides the species that have been named there are several other occidental pears named by European botanists which may be looked for in botanic gardens. Some of these might have value for work in hybridization but it is doubtful. Of these, P. heterophylla Regel and Schmalhausen (Act. Hort. Petropol 5:pt. ii, 581. 1878) is a small thorny tree from the mountain valleys of Turkestan. P. amygdaliformis Villars (Cat Meth. Jardin Strasbourg 323. 1807) is a spiny shrub or small tree, bearing small worthless fruits; a native of arid soils in the regions of olives in southern Europe. P. salicifolia Pallas (Itin. s: 734. 1776) is a small spiny tree from the Crimea, Caucasas, and Armenia; the fruit has little or no value. P. syriaca Boissier (Diag. Nov. Pl. Orient 10:1. 1849) is a thorny, shrubby tree from Syria, Asia Minor, and Kurdistan.
A review of botanical literature shows several other names of doubtful species of Pyrus which seem more likely to be hybrids or abnormal escapes from orchards. There are, also, many names which seem to be synonyms. Material and literature at hand do not enable the author to make certain of these, even if any sufficiently worthy purpose could be served in a pomological text.
The oriental pears have been brought to America in comparatively recent years, chiefly as ornamentals and for blight-resistant stocks; but hybrids of at least one species of this group, P. serotina, with the common pear have given many valuable orchard varieties. The Chinese and Japanese cultivate several species for their fruits. These pears constitute a group quite distinct in aspect of tree and fruit, but no characters not in occidental species are found in all species of the oriental group. The most constant differences, besides region of origin, are found in the leaves and the calyx. The leaves in most species are markedly acuminate and their margins are sharp-serate or setose-serrate. The calyx falls from the fruit in the species now cultivated for food, but does not in two species promising for stocks.
Tree vigorous, upright, attaining a height of 20 to 50 ft., the branches becoming glabrous. Leaves ovate-oblong, sometimes ovate, 3 to 5 in. long, rounded at the base and rarely subcordate or cuneate, long-acuminate, sharply setose-serrate, with partially appressed seratures; when young, villous, or lower surface cobwebby, but becoming glabrous. Flowers white, borne in 6 to 9 flowered umbellate-racemose clusters; glabrous or somewhat tomentose and borne on slender pedicels; calyx-lobes triangular-ovate and long-acuminate, ¼ to ½ in. long, glandulose-denticulate; petals oval, short-clawed, ¾ in. long; stamens about 20; styles 4 or 5, glabrous. Fruit sub-globose, russet-brown; stalk slender; calyx deciduous.
This oriental pear has been referred to P. sinensis Lindley (not Poiret) by botanists and horticulturists since its introduction in Europe nearly one hundred years ago until 1915 when Rehder, discovering that the true P. sinensis had been lost to cultivation, proposed the name P. lindleyi for one group and P. serotina for another group of Chinese pears passing under Lindley's original species, P. sinensis.
This species comes from central and western China, where the fruits are used for food under the name, with that of other brown-fruited species, of tang-li. American pomologists are interested in the type species as a possible source of blight-resistant stocks for varieties of the common pear. Stocks of this species, however, grown on the Pacific slope have not proved satisfactory because difficult to bud, and very susceptible to leaf-blight, and because they are not as resistant to pear-blight as an ideal stock should be. Rehder, an authority on oriental pears, gives two botanical varieties. His var. stapfiana differs from the type in bearing pyriform fruits; leaves with less appressed serratures; and petals with attenuate claws. So far as now appears it is of no greater value to pomology than the type. The other botanical variety which Rehder describes, var. culta, is of great importance in pomology and must have detailed consideration.
PYRUS SEROTINA CULTA Rehder
1. Rehder Prod. Amer. Acad. Arts Of Sci. 50:233. 1915.
2. P. sinensis Hort. Not Lindley nor Poiret.
3. P. japonica Hort. Not Thunberg.
3. P. sieboldi Carrière Rev. Hort. 110. 1880.
5. P. sinensis culta Makino Tokyo Bot. Mag. 22:69. 1908.
Tree large, vigorous; top spreading, drooping, open; trunk thick, shaggy; branches stout, zigzag, greenish-brown, with a slight covering of scarf-skin marked with many conspicuous, elongated lenticels; branchlets slender, with long internodes, brownish-red, tinged with green and with thin, ash-gray scarf-skin, glabrous, with many unusually conspicuous, raised lenticels. Leaf-buds sharply pointed, plump, thick at the base, free; leaf-scars prominent. Leaves 4⅛ in. long, 2⅝ in. wide, thick, leathery; apex taper-pointed; margin tipped with very fine reddish-brown glands, finely serrate; petiole thick, 2 in. long, lightly pubescent, greenish-red. Flower-buds thick, short, conical, plump, free, arranged singly on very short spurs; flowers with a disagreeable odor, bloom in mid-season, 1¼ in. across, averaging 7 buds in a cluster; calyx-lobes long, narrow, acuminate, glandular, reflexed, lightly pubescent within and without; petals broadly oval, entire, apex rounded; pistils 4 or 5, from a common base, longer than the stamens, pubescent at base; stamens ¼ in. long, with dull red anthers; pedicels 1½ in. long, slender, thinly pubescent, pale green.
Fruit ripe February-March; 2¼ in. long, 2⅛ in. wide, round, slightly pyriform, irregularly ribbed, with unequal sides; stem 1½ in. long, curved, slender; cavity acute, deep, narrow, furrowed, lipped; calyx deciduous; basin shallow, wide, obtuse, gently furrowed or wrinkled; skin tough, smooth, waxy; color lemon-yellow, with russet lines and nettings and many russet specks; dots numerous, small, conspicuous, brownish-russet; flesh yellowish-white, very granular, crisp, tough, juicy, with a peculiar aroma unlike that of the common pear; poor in quality. Core large, open, axile, with clasping core-lines; calyx-tube short, wide, conical; seeds roundish, of medium size, wide, plump, obtuse.
The Sand pear differs from the type in fruit and foliage. The pears are much larger and are commonly apple-form as shown in the accompanying plate, but trees bearing pyriform fruits are not unknown. The leaves are larger and broader. Rehder, who separated this form from its species, writes, "The Japanese pear cultivated under the name Madame Von Siebold may be considered as representing the type of this variety." These pears are known to pomologists under several names; as Chinese Sand, Sand, Japanese, Hawaii, Sha Lea, Gold Dust, Mikado, and Diamyo, although it is possible that the last three are hybrids. The pear illustrated and described in this text as a representative of this botanical variety came from seed sent from Manchuria.
The pears are attractive in appearance, keep well, and are palatable in culinary preparations, but are possessed of a gritty flesh and potato-like flavor which debar them as dessert fruits in all regions where the common pear can be grown. The several varieties of var. culta now in America came from Japan where the species must have been early introduced from China as this is now the most common fruit of the Japanese with the exception of the persimmon. In China and Japan there are a number of pomological varieties, which, however, differ from each other less than varieties of the European pear. The fruits of the several varieties grown in America are often mistaken for apples, from which they are distinguished by their deciduous calyxes, rough, dry skins, long stems, juicy, gritty flesh, and insipid potato-like flavor. Seedlings of var. culta fail as stocks for European varieties in the same characters in which the species is unsatisfactory.
This oriental pear hybridizes freely with the common pear, and it is for this purpose that it is most valuable in America. Several of these hybrids are important commercial varieties in North America of which Kieffer, Le Conte, and Garber, in the order named, are the best known and the most useful. Sterility is a common attribute of hybrids, but the hybrids between these two species are not more sterile than varieties of the parents. These hybrids are stronger and more rapid in growth than the common pear and are more productive and more resistant to blight. The pears aremore pyriform and of much better flavor than those of the oriental parent. The calyx of hybrid fruits is sometimes persistent and sometimes deciduous. The hybrids do not make good stocks and intergraft but poorly with the common pear. Of all pear-trees, these are handsomest in growth when in perfect health and make excellent ornamental trees. The strong, clean growth, luxuriant green foliage, beautifully tinted in the autumn, resembles the oriental rather than the occidental parent. It is doubtful whether hybrid trees will attain the great size of those of the common pear, and they seem to succumb to the ills of old age rather more quickly than those of the European parent. The hybrid pears seem less well liked by the pestiferous San Jose scale than the common pear. The first flush of popularity having passed, hybrid pears have found their proper place in American pomology. They belong to the South and Middle West where the common pear is illy adapted to the climate. In the North and on the Pacific slope, pear-growers are wisely planting varieties the fruits of which are better in quality.
5. PYRUS USSURIENSIS Maximowicz
1. P. ussuriensis Maximowicz Bull. Acad. Set. St. Petersb. 15:132. 1857.
2. P. sinensis Decaisne Bull. Acad. Set. St. Petersb. 19:172. 1883.
3. P. simonii Carriere Rev. Hort. 28. 1872. fig. 3.
4. P. sinensis ussuriensis Makino Tokyo Bot. Mag. 22:69. 1908.
Rehder says of P. ussuriensis, "This species differs from the allied species chiefly in the short stalk of the globose fruit with persistent calyx, in the broad, often nearly orbicular, strongly setosely serrate leaves and in the lighter yellowish-brown branches; the flower clusters are, owing to the short stalks, rather dense and hemispherical, the petals are obovate and rather gradually narrowed toward the base; the styles are distinctly pilose near the base."
Wilson, describing the vegetation of Korea, says of this species: "Pyrus ussuriensis is abundant and this year is laden with fruit. On some trees the fruit is wholly green, on others reddish on one side; the length of the peduncle varies and the same is true of the leaf-structure; the calyx is persistent or deciduous often on fruits on the same branch."
The habitat of this species is northern and northeastern China and eastern Siberia. Manchuria, Korea, Amurland, and Ussurri are named as regions in which it is most commonly found. A glance at the map shows THE PEARS OF NEW YORK that this habitat is in the far north for pears, and it might well be suspected that this would be one of the hardiest of all pears, and this proves to be the case. Horticultural varieties are reported by Chinese explorers, some of which have been introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture. These no doubt have some value in the most northern fruit regions of America and if not for their fruits, they may prove useful in hybridization. But it is as a possible stock resistant to blight that the species has received most attention in this country.
Reimer, of Oregon, found this species to be very resistant to fire-blight and at first thought it might prove to be a valuable stock. Following Reimer's experiments much was said of it as a promising new stock, and the United States Department of Agriculture gave it a thorough trial from the results of which they discouraged its use. The tree proved to be a slow grower; very subject to leaf-blight, therefore unable to hold its leaves during the growing and budding season, difficult to use in budding as the tough bark did not "slip" easily, and but a small number of the buds took. According to Galloway, however, the Kuan li or Chinese water pear, which he says belongs to the Ussuriensis group, is one of the most promising pear stocks. Both for its fruits and as a stock, this species is likely to receive much attention in the United States for some time to come. The difficulty at present, as we have found at this Station, is to get seeds or budding wood true to name of the forms of the species that seem to be most desirable.
Chinese Saw-leafed Pear. This species, according to Rehder, is closely related to P. serotina but differs from it chiefly in its serrulate, not setosely serrate, generally broader, leaves, in the smaller flowers with usually three or four styles, and in the shorter sepals and smaller fruit.
This pear was first found by E. H. Wilson in 1907 in western Hupeh. The province of Hupeh is 800 or 900 miles west and south of Shanghai. The pears in this location grow in thickets at an altitude of 4000 to 5000 feet. Reimer found the species at Ichang, in Hupeh, at elevations of 3000 to 3700 feet. Its occurrence at these altitudes indicates that it is a hardy form. Whether the species is likely to be valuable for its fruits, or for hybridization, does not appear, but Galloway, reporting on it as tested by the United States Department of Agriculture, says that it is affected but slightly by leaf-blight, holds its foliage well in hot summers, and has a long budding season. These statements indicate that it is worth trying as a stock.
7. PYRUS BETULÆFOLIA Bunge
1. P. betulæfolia Bunge Mem. Sav. Etr. Acad. Sci. St. Petersb. 2:101. 1833.
2. Decaisne Jard. Fruit. 1120. 1872.
3. Carrière Rev. Hort. 318. 1879. figs. 68, 69.
4. Sargent Gard. et For. 7:224. 1894. fig. 39.
Tree vigorous, upright-spreading, tall, open-topped, hardy; trunk stocky, shaggy, and rough; branches thick, dull brownish-red, thickly coated with gray scarf-skin, sprinkled with numerous small, raised lenticels; branchlets slender, willowy, long, with long inter-nodes, dull reddish-brown, with gray scarf-skin, heavily pubescent, with small, conspicuous, raised lenticels. Leaf-buds small, short, flattened, pointed, free. Leaves 4 in. long, 2⅛ in. wide, thick, stiff; apex taper-pointed; margin sharply and coarsely serrate; teeth tipped with small, reddish-brown glands; petiole 1¾ in. long, slender, pubescent, tinged red. Flower-buds small, short, conical, plump, free, arranged singly on long spurs; flowers open late, with a rather unpleasant odor, showy, 1 3/16 in. across, white, in dense clusters, 13 buds in a cluster; pedicels 1 5/16 in. long, slender, pubescent, pale green; calyx-tube pale green mingled with white pubescence, dark greenish-yellow within, campanulate, thickly pubescent; calyx-lobes greenish within and with white pubescence, short, narrow, acuminate, tipped with very small, sharp, reddish-brown glands, heavily pubescent within and without, reflexed; petals separated at the base but with meeting cheeks, round-oval, entire, with short, narrow claws, white at the base; anthers deep pinkish-red; filaments short, shorter than the petals; styles 2 to 3; pistils glabrous, usually as long as the stamens; stigma very small. Fruit russet, heavily dotted, the size of a small grape; calyx deciduous; pears hanging until the following spring.
The above description was made from a plant grown from seed obtained from the Arnold Arboretum in 1900, that institution having obtained the species from the mountains near Peking in 1882. This pear has been collected by various explorers in the regions about Peking, especially to the north and east, and is not uncommon in these parts of China. The small pears are without value for food, but the trees are promising stocks. While Reimer reports the species as susceptible to fire-blight in Oregon, it has not proved particularly so on the grounds of this Station nor elsewhere in the East. The seedlings are also free from leaf-blight. The young plants grow vigorously from seed or cuttings; are capable of being budded throughout a long season; they make a good union with other pears in China according to Reimer; and the variety is so common in China that there is little difficulty in getting seed true to name. The tree is a handsome ornamental.
Rehder says of this species, "Pyrus calleryana is a widely distributed species and seems not uncommon on mountains at an altitude of from 1000 to 1500 m. It is easily recognizable by its comparatively small crenate leaves, like the inflorescence glabrous or nearly glabrous, and by its small flowers with two, rarely three styles. When unfolding most specimens show a loose and thin tomentum on the under side of the leaves which usually soon disappears, but in No. 1662 from Kuling even the fully grown leaves are loosely rusty tomentose on the midrib beneath. In No. 415a the leaves are longer, generally ovate-oblong, the pedicels very long and slender, about 3 to 4 cm. long and the sepals are mostly long-acuminate. The fruit of No. 556a is rather large, about 1 to 1.4 cm. in diameter, but a fruit examined proved to be two-celled."
This species is reported from various places in China with western Hupeh as the chief habitat. Reimer, of Oregon, reports this as a most promising stock for the common pear, and Galloway, of the United States Department of Agriculture, says that "Of all the pears tested and studied this remarkable species holds out the greatest promise as a stock." In America it stands the cold as far north as the Arnold Arboretum, near Boston, and endures summer heat as far south as Brooksville, Florida. The plant is reported as vigorous under nearly all conditions. Galloway reports that it can be budded from July 1 to September 1 at Washington. All kinds of pears take well upon it; the seeds are easily obtained, easily grown, and run remarkably uniform.
1. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts & Sci. 50:228. 1915.
2. P. sinensis Hemsley Jour. Linn. Soc. 23:257. 1887, in part. Not Poiret nor Lindley.
3. Schneider III. Handb. Laubholzk. 1:663. 1906. fig. 364 c-d.
4. P. simonii Hort. Not Carrière.
Rehder, who established this species, says of it: "This species seems to be most closely related to P. ussuriensis Maximowicz which differs chiefly in the broader orbicular-ovate or ovate leaves, in the lighter colored branches, and in the short-stalked subglobose fruit with the persistent sepals spreading. The shape of the fruit of P. ovoidea is very unusual and quite distinct from any pear I know; the fruit is exactly ovate, broad and rounded at the base and tapering from the middle toward the truncate apex, as figured by Schneider (fig. 364 d). This may, however, not be a specific character and the shape of the fruit may vary in other specimens referable to this species. The Chinese material which I have seen and which might belong here is very meagre. The Fokien specimen is in young fruit which suggests a more pyriform shape, though tapering toward the apex and showing the same kind of persistent calyx; the serration of the leaves is more minute and more accumbent. The Yunnan specimen is in flower and differs somewhat in the more copious tomentum of the leaves and of the inflorescence and in the shorter, nearly entire calyx-lobes.
"It is not known when and whence this species was introduced. Possibly it was sent in the early sixties from northern China by G. E. Simon, or by A. David a little later from the same region or from Mongolia to the Museum in Paris and was afterwards distributed by Decaisne."
This species is of importance to pear-growers as a stock. Discussing it as a stock, Reimer says: "This species ranks second only to Pyrus ussuriensis in blight resistance. During 1915 we were unable to get the disease to develop more than four inches even in vigorous growing shoots of this species. During the very favorable season of 1916 vigorous shoots would blight down as much as fifteen inches. As soon as it reached the hard wood of the previous season it would stop. All the inoculations into one and two-year-old trunks have failed to develop the disease.
"The trees are vigorous growers, and produce medium sized fruit, which is egg-shaped, and has a persistent calyx. This species is a native of northern China, and was formerly known as Pyrus simonii."
Reimer, now a leading authority on blight-resistant stocks, writes of P. variolosa: "This species is one of the most promising types in our collection. The tree is a beautiful, vigorous, upright grower. It makes a good union with cultivated varieties, and should prove valuable as a stock for top-working.
"This species, while not immune to blight, is very resistant. During the summer of 1915 a large number of innoculations [sic] were made into the tips of young branches, and these usually would blight back for a distance of three to five inches. During 1916, a very favorable season for pear blight, the disease would extend down young branches as much as from twelve to eighteen inches, and in one case as much as two feet. Seventy-seven inoculations were made into the trunks of two-year-old trees. All but seven of them failed to develop the disease. In the successful infections, only small superficial cankers were produced. In these cankers a new cambium would readily form, and the entire wound would heal over perfectly in a short time.
"The origin of this species, or type, is still a matter of dispute. It has been confused with Pyrus pashia of northern India, from which species it is very distinct. Pyrus variolosa produces medium sized, pear-shaped fruits, which have a persistent calyx. It is possible that this is not a distinct species, but a hybrid. If this should prove to be the case, it probably will not come true to type from seeds. This matter will be determined by a study of the seedlings of this type. If this does not come true to type from seeds, the seedlings may be of little value for root stocks. If this should prove to be the case, it will, nevertheless, be of value as a stock for top-working, when propagated by budding or grafting on some other root system."