Barseck pear tree

The barseck pear tree as many of you are aware is the parent, grandparent, great grand parent or great great grandparent of many notable crosses eg. DAWN, Shenandoah, Michigan US 437, US 466. Doyenne Du Comice and Sunrise.

Tracking the history of Barseck is a little tricky but can be found in “The Pears of New York – U. P. Hedrick, George Henry Howe, Orrin Morehouse Taylor, Edward H. Francis, Harold Bradford Tukey”

ARS Grin has the scion wood available and had this to say about the pear "Originated at Brighton, New York and first reported in 1890. Presumed to be a Bartlett x Seckel cross. Fruit medium in size, oblong-pyriform. skin yellow in color, usually blushed with bright crimson, some tendency to blemish. Flesh buttery, juicy, somewhat granular. Pleasing vinous flavor but inferior to Seckel in dessert quality. Fairly early in season. Tree vigorous, fairly productive. Moderately susceptible to blight. – H. Hartman, Oregon Ag. Experiment Station, 1957. "

Is anyone growing this old classic pear for breeding or home use?


Photos from


Harvest Queen is a Barseck child if I am not mistaken.

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You are correct. They used Barseck in the harrow breeding program and accessed it’s susceptibility to fireblight and it ranked as one of the best
Classes 7.9 to 10 (blight mainly in current season shoots; required no or little surgical pruning)
Old Home
Pierre Cornielle
Clara Fris
Louise Bonne de Jersey
Anjou (tetraploid)

Many of these harrow pears such as harvest queen were bred based off fireblight resistance.
“Harvest Queen’– This variety is a hybrid of ‘Barseck’
x ‘Bartlett’ and was introduced by the Harrow Research
Station in Harrow, Ontario in 1982. This is a new ‘Bart
-lett’ type pear with good fireblight resistance. The flesh
is similar to Bartlett, but less gritty. It ripens one week
ahead of ‘Bartlett’. The fruit is very similar to ‘Bartlett’
in appearance and flavor, but slightly smaller in size.
Reports indicate that it is good for canning”
If you use the same document and go back further you see others using US 437 another child of barseck
“‘Moonglow’– This variety is a hybrid of US-Mich. 437
x ‘Roi Charles de Waurtemburg’and was introduced in
1960 by the USDA, Beltsville, MD. The fruit is medium
to large in size and yellow. The flesh is soft, white,
moderately juicy, and nearly free of grit cells. The flavor
is mild and sub acid. It ripens in early to mid-August,
about one week ahead of ‘Bartlett’.”
If you use the same document and go back even further you see others using moonglow another grandchild of barseck
"‘Potomac’ – This is a hybrid of ‘Moonglow’ x
‘Buerre D’Anjou’ and was released in 1993 by the
USDA. The fruit is moderate in size and the skin is light
green and glossy. The flesh is moderately fine, buttery,
and has some grit cells. The flavor is mild and sub acid
and the aroma is mild. It ripens about two weeks after
Bartlett. "

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Highly recommend reading this newer thread as well Bell Pear

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Continue to keep my eyes on this pear they love it for breeding because it passes on fireblight resistance

" # New pear cultivar released

The new pear was developed and released jointly by USDA, Oregon State University, Michigan State University and Clemson University.


February 9, 2015

Industry News

A new pear cultivar, ‘Gem’, has been released jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Oregon State University, Michigan State University and Clemson University. Gem is ideal for the fresh market, combining high yields with excellent appearance, fruit quality and long storage potential. The new cultivar is resistant to fire blight and isn’t prone to brown discoloration, called “superficial scald,” that affects some pear varieties.

Gem requires at least 3 weeks of cold storage before normal fruit softening, but it will last for at least 28 weeks in cold storage without core breakdown or superficial scald. The fruit can also be eaten immediately after harvest without softening, as it has a crisp, juicy texture. Its flavor is sweet and mildly aromatic. When compared to Bartlett, a popular pear variety, sensory panelists rated Gem similar in appearance, flavor and purchase intent.

The original seedling tree of Gem was from a cross of ‘Sheldon’ and US62563-004 made in 1970. Bell selected Gem in 1981 from the seedling orchard at the ARS Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland.

The source of Gem’s fire blight resistance comes from the cultivar ‘Barseck’. Subsequently, Gem was evaluated for fruit quality, fire blight resistance and productivity in replicated trials at the Kearneysville location and at research centers at Washington State University, Oregon State University, Michigan State University, Cornell University and Clemson University.

Gem is recommended as a fresh-market pear for both commercial and home orchards. While budwood of Gem is limited, genetic material of this release will be deposited in the National Plant Germplasm System, where it will be available for research purposes, including development and commercialization of the new cultivar."

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Barseck is frequently overlooked but very important in pear breeding.

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