Anyone been growing Leona pears? It sure does love Kansas! What is your experience with this pear? The growth is different from any pear I’m familiar with. I’ve pruned it 5 times already to hold it back. It’s to big for staking already unless you want to use a really large stake. The leaves look normal but the growth is what is so unusual.
Add up what I have taken off and it’s around 4-5 feet off the top. The tree is to small for that much weight. The first storm that came a long would snap it off if I let it do what it wants. I want it to wait at least 2-3 years for pears. This is what came off today for the 5th time with the top having an extra foot of growth again. The side branches were 2-3 inches on up to eight inches. Suspecting it loves our sizzling hot summers.
Found a post on NAFEX Southern Pear interest group stating "Leona Pear (my best pear) " http://tandeecal.com/page10.htm towards the bottom of the page. I found this information "Originated in Converse, Louisiana about 1930. Legend has it that this was an unclaimed, mail order tree planted by a postal worker and named for his wife. It has been widely propagated in Louisiana and Texas and we all agree that it is a very sweet, high quality, dessert pear. The large, apple shaped fruit has a distinct ‘shoulder’. It takes a few years to come into full bearing on calleryana. Probably about 400 - 450 chill units. – E. Natelson. " from http://www.ars.usda.gov/pandp/people/people.htm?personid=4490. I grafted it to calleryana as discussed by the usda https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/accessiondetail.aspx?1507864. I realize it may take a little longer to produce fruit on callery but the fruit load will be heavier than with ohxf333 due to the size. I suspect based on the information foumd on the nafex page I need to graft it to a large tree. The pear can get very large (18.8 oz) as NAFEX pointed out here http://tandeecal.com/Leon.jpg . The Leona scion donation was made to the usda by Ethan Natelson in 1994 who was the editor for articles such as this one http://www.southernfruitfellowship.com/join.htm and this one http://www.natureswayresources.com/nl/58ForgottenFruit.pdf .
I grafted some Leona scions each of the last 2 Springs and am looking forward to them growing enough to bear fruit. One thing for sure is that they leaf out much later than other pears here in the Houston area, so I guess that the chill hours are north of 500. Whether they are fireblight resistant remains to be seen, and that is more important than any other characteristic. It’s about like buying the best car in the world, but if it’s engine won’t start it is stuck in the “junk status” category. Ethan Natelson is a local pear-knowledgeable guy who speaks from experience.
I top worked a two year old callery pear with Leona and been keeping it pruned to 5’ . There is very little information about them but we do know it’s grown in Fireblight areas.
I had it in the ground for four plus years in Austin and it never bloomed so it must be a slow starter. Dr. Nate was a really good friend of mine and he raved about this pear and he was picky. I have not heard from him in a bit but what a genius fruit grower!
Over on the southern pear interest group Carl Mohrherr lists the bloom times, and Leona blooms about a month before Keiffer in his area. Keiffer blooms about 3/15 here in Dallas, last bad frost is about 3/10, so I’ve been afraid to try Leonna and most other Houston pears. But if it works in KS I’ll give it a go.
Sounds like Leona is popular amongst some very knowledgable growers. I suspect it is very underrated in the pear growing world. Seems like many pears of excellent quality are not widely known.
We will know in a couple of years how it will do here. I grafted it to a nice sized callery seedling. Next year I expect it will double in size.
Clark, where did you find your Leona pear tree? Or, did you get scions and graft?
I grafted scions on a seedling callery.
I grafted mine as well. I have never heard of one for sale.
Had some trouble even finding scions of it. You would think everyone would be growing Leona by what I’ve seen so far. I guess we will know better after we taste one.
Bob in Austin it leafed out at the same time as my main group of pears it won’t be too early in Dallas I’m sure. It does take a while to get going though. In lower chill areas it probably blooms earlier.
Leona ripens in September. Does anyone have pictures of the fruit? I know it’s a rare pear but I thought I would ask in hopes someone has a mature tree. If not I will post pictures when mine fruits in 2-3 years.
Here is a website that has some Pears listed,including Leona. Brady
That’s pretty informative. In that taste test Leona did not get good reviews. It may be lucky I just had enough scion for one tree.
" The Bell House - Growing Fruit Trees in Northwest Houston
Pear Tasting 2012
Gulf Coast Fruit Study Group Pear Tasting 2012
Last Thursday was the annual Gulf Coast Fruit Study Group pear tasting event, and their 25th anniversary celebration. It is because of the dedicated efforts of the GCFSG that we have as much knowledge about growing fruit here as we do, and I have also met many wonderful and knowledgeable friends through the GCFSG. The selfless and wonderful Yvonne Gibbs received some well deserved recognition for her 25 years of service, Dr. Natelson gave a talk about his trip to Saskatoon, Canada for the North American Fruit Explorers annual meeting, and Dr. Hu (sp?) gave a brief presentation about the rare Silver Hill Round jujube.
Unfortunately, the pears ripened very early this year, and by the time of the tasting event, most were over-ripe and not at their best. I took notes as I tasted all the pears (see below), and tried to make sure that I tasted at least two different fruits of each variety. My favorite this year was Rising Star. Even though there weren’t as many pears or as many varieties of pears as last year, I still had a great time. I’ve never been to a meeting where I didn’t learn something valuable. I truly appreciate the generosity of Dr. Natelson, Yvonne Gibbs, George McAffee, and anyone else who donated pears, time, and effort to make the event possible.
Yvonne was presented with a plaque in recognition of her 25 years of dedication and service to the Gulf Coast Fruit Study Group.
25th Anniversary Cake
My notes from the tasting are given below. Bear in mind that the pears ripened early this year, and the fruit available at the tasting was not of peak quality.
Juicy, sweet, soft to slightly firm with kind of a creamy texture, few to no grit cells, good flavor.
Hard and crisp, but with good flavor, juicy, a little bit watery, flavor was slightly tangy but not very intense.
Slightly crisp, sweet, mild flavor, a little watery, juicy.
Mushy texture, juicy and sweet, with a flavor that reminded me of a Red Delicious apple.
Crisp, very juicy, watery, slightly sweet, not much flavor, can definitely taste its Hosui Asian pear heritage.
Good texture, slightly gritty, firm without being crisp or mealy, sweet, mild flavor, skin is a little tough.
Wonderful! Melting texture, juicy and sweet with a wine-like flavor, nice and intense. My favorite pear at this year’s tasting.
Texture is crisp and gritty, tough, not very juicy or sweet, mild sour-apple like flavor.
Slightly rubbery texture, but still crisp, only slightly gritty, sweet with just a tiny bit of tartness.
Texture was slightly rubbery to slightly crisp, sweet, not very juicy, very mild flavor.
Slightly crisp, sweet, not particularly juicy and not very flavorful.
Good flavor, sweet, not very juicy, slightly mealy texture with just a little grit, I like this one.
Poor texture, not much flavor and not very juicy, probably not a good specimen.
Very crisp, a little hard, skin has slightly astringent taste, juicy and sweet, good flavor.
Great melting texture, unique mild flavor, really good, juicy and sweet, little to no grit.
Slightly mealy texture, sweet, not juicy, not very flavorful.
I have attended that pear event multiple times, and it really is good. However, one of the benefits of home grown fruit is that they can be picked at the optimum time for the best eating, and trying to pick a lot of different fruit at the same time for this meeting does not in any way equal that. A snapshot taken when the event was planned rather than when a grower hand picked a few at their prime for fresh eating. Like a snapshot of a human when posing rather than during a sneeze. Typically, some of the fruit samples may be under-ripe, and some can be past prime, but since the number of tasters greatly outnumber the available small chunks, you don’t get to eat enough to get a thorough sampling. When I wanted to let a guy sample some of these same varieties a few years ago, I hand picked several of each variety when they were close to prime, and he ate them over a period of days. His evaluation would have been more useful. Like the old story about 3 blind men each getting to touch a part of an elephant and then describe what “an elephant” is like. One small sample does not an evaluation make.
I did post the link mostly for the photo.From other reviews and opinions about the Pear,it does seem like the quality is better than the author’s. Brady
We will see how they taste. They are very strong growing pears. I can always graft them over later if we don’t like them.
Everyone I know who has ever eaten one has said it is a top notch pear at least in the South were it is typically grown. I bet if anything it will be better for you with a longer rest period.