Characteristics of European Pear Tree (Pyrus communis) in the Wild

Pyrus communis
European Pear or Common Pear is a species of pear tree native to central and eastern Europe and southwest Asia.

It is one of the most important fruit-producing trees in temperate regions, especially in Europe, North America and Australia. Two other species of pear trees, namely the Nashi Pir (Pyrus pyrifolia) and the Pir Ya hybrid (Pyrus × bretschneideri) are mainly cultivated in East Asia.

The European pear as we know it today is thought to have originated from two subspecies of the wild pear tree categorized as Pyrus communis subsp. pyraster and Pyrus communis subsp. caucasica. Archaeological evidence suggests these pears were “collected from the wild long before being cultivated,” Zohary and Hopf say. Reliable information about pear cultivation first appeared in the work of Greek and Roman authors including Theophrastus, Cato the Elder, and Pliny the Elder who all provided information on pear tree cultivation and grafting.

Unfortunately, European pear trees are not as strong as apple trees. However, they need a cold enough winter to bear fruit.

For the best and most consistent quality, European pears are picked when the fruit is nearly ripe. Fruit that is allowed to ripen on the tree often falls before it is picked. Pears do best when they are almost ripe if kept in a cool temperature such as a refrigerator. Some varieties, such as Beurre d’Anjou, can only fully ripen when exposed to cold temperatures.

There are relatively few cultivars of European pear trees planted around the world, only about 20. And almost all cultivars of the European pear tree are seeds or selections that come from Western Europe, especially from France. Meanwhile, cultivars originating from Asia are all from Japan and China.


Characteristics of European Pear Leaf

Pyrus communis Leaf
Source : Br.

The leaves are 2-5 cm long, oval-shaped, finely serrated, tapered, and do not have hair on mature leaves.


Characteristics of European Pear Flower

Pyrus communis Flower
Source :阿橋 HQ

The flowers appear after the leaves in April to May, grouped in umbels from 1 to 12 flowers. Generally, European pear flowers are 2-3 cm in diameter, have 5 sepals to form 5 large triangular teeth, and form a hollow cup called a conceptacle. The European pear flower also has an unpleasant smell to humans but attracts wild bees for pollination.


Characteristics of European Pear Fruit

Pyrus communis Fruit
Source :é María Escolano

The fruit is pomaceous, meaning that it consists of part of the original fruit (derived from the ovary) and part of the pseudo fruit (associated with the growth of the container or concept site). The real fruit is what is called the core, while the edible part comes from the container. The skin (epicarp) is colored variously depending on the variety. The flesh is thick, basically consisting of the outer by the concept and the inside by the pericarp tissue.


Characteristics of European Pear Trees

Pyrus communis Tree
Source : Rockstein

European pear trees are medium in size and can reach 10-15 meters in height in the wild with an average age of 200 years.

The tree thrives in temperate and slightly humid climates. It is also tolerant of cold temperatures, although it is prone to spring frosts. European pear trees require cool climates for adequate breaks from dormancy and the start of a new growing season. These cold requirements vary widely, depending on the cultivar.


To reproduce pear trees can be done by seeding and grafting. But the way most farmers do is grafting in the spring.

How to seed seedlings can be done but has a weakness, namely that it is not possible to produce fruit that is identical to the original fruit from the seeds and fruits obtained. Also, trees from seedlings can only produce fruit when they are about 10 years old.

Of course, how to plant seeds is very time consuming and inefficient for cultivation.


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