Question the History of a pear or know some history? Post it here!



R.J. Hilton, D. Sugar


A pear breeding program was conducted at Oregon State University’s Southern Oregon Experiment Station, now part of the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, from 1911 to the 1980s. A number of crosses were made with ‘Comice’ as a parent, often with ‘Max Red Bartlett’ as the other parent. Two named cultivars, ‘Rogue Red’ (‘Comice’ × (‘Seckel’ × Farmingdale’)) and ‘Cascade’ (‘Comice’ × ‘Max Red Bartlett’), both with red peel color, were released in 1969 and 1986, respectively. Two other products of that program, initially designated 633E and 2-301, did not have red color but were selected for their superior eating quality. Local southern Oregon growers are producing these two cultivars in small quantities. Cultivar 633E has been named ‘Paragon’ and is a cross of ‘Comice’ × ‘Max Red Bartlett’. The skin is green and very palatable. The fruit consistently ranks extremely high in pear tastings conducted at the Research Center. ‘Paragon’ is ‘Bartlett’-shaped, blooms with ‘Bosc’, turns yellow with ripening, and matures between ‘Bartlett’ and ‘Comice’. The storage life is approximately four months. Cultivar 2-301 (‘Comice’ × ‘Louis Pasteur’) is currently marketed under the name ‘BestEver’. The shape is round-pyriform and the peel is mottled-russet and does not change color with ripening. Maturity is after ‘Comice’ and storage life in normal atmosphere is 6-8 months. ‘Paragon’ and ‘BestEver’ pears represent the final releases of the pear breeding program conducted by Oregon State University in southern Oregon.

Pear known as paragon is also known by the name yungen PI 617677 GRIN-Global


Pyrus communis L.




Developed – Oregon, United States


Natl. Germplasm Repository - Corvallis

Received by NPGS:

22 Feb 1999

Improvement Status:


Form Received:


Update for our records

Yungen aka Paragon
yungen is the newer name for paragon PI 617677 GRIN-Global

It’s time for me to document tennousi pear and where it came from with the recipe as given PANZARELLA CITRUS - Origin of the Tennosui Pear
"The Origin of the Tennosui Pear
(with Tennosui and Strawberry Sorbet recipe)

Bill Adams, presently a retired Harris county extension service agent, collected seeds from a pear butter project when he was working for the extension service and he and Tom LeRoy, another extension service agent who is now in the Conroe, Texas area, planted the seeds. They had about 33 trees come up, and one had the flavor of a melting European pear with few grit cells and the crispness of an Asian pear; one of the best tasting pears I have eaten. The skin is russet and a little tough, so I would recommend peeling the skin before eating. Dr. Ethan Natelson M.D. our local pear expert and pear collector thought it kind of looked like a Hosui and he named it Tennosui since it did come from a Tennessee pear and there is a Hosui pear tree in the orchard. It is a nice looking tree, growing in the Harris county demonstration orchard. The number of chill hours is still being determined. Dr. Natelson has speculated that it might be as high as 600 hours. I grafted a branch on to a Bradford flowering pear last year (2006) in Angleton, Texas, and this spring it has 6 pears on a graft that is only about 3/8 inch in diameter. All 6 pears developed and 4 were eaten by birds before I could taste them. The other two I got to eat and photograph.
Update: In the summer of 2009 the tree bore so many fruit that it broke a one diameter branch. I forgot to count the fruit, but it was a bunch. The fruit continued to ripen and we enjoyed them all.

Two Tennosui pears growing on a large Bradford pear tree.

It seems to be a fairly vigorous grower and so far has resisted fireblight. I grafted a branch on to a calleryana pear rootstock and gave the tree to my daughter (spring 2007) in Plano, Texas, to test it for chill hours. She reports that it is growing vigorously although the person that cut her yard (not her husband) severely damaged the bark with a weedeater.

Photo by Bill Adams

Additional comments by Dr. Natelson:
Another benefit is the failure of the pear to oxidize when cut open - it just remains white, rather than browning. This would suggest its anti-oxidant content is very high and makes it more appealing to serve in slices in salads. It is directly compatible with P. calleryana and P. betulaefolia and also directly compatible with quince. On quince BA 29-C it is a slow grower, but much more vigorous when grown on chanomeles-type quince rootstock. When grafted to other cultivars, the growth is quite variable from vigorous on Leona to very slow on OH x F 513, but vigorous on OH x F 51. We have seen some minimal blight on the tree. The original tree, on its own roots, is moderate in size. I think it will have a somewhat spreading character when grafted in an open yard.

Tennosui Pear & Strawberry Sorbet

  • 1 lb of fresh strawberries washed and the calyx removed
  • 3 or 4 Tennosui pears cored, peeled & cut up
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon (in my case I use 1/4 Panzarella lemon)
  • 1 can of concentrated defrosted frozen apple juice undiluted

Blend all in a food blender and freeze in an ice cream maker"

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" Facts about Callery Pear ~ Pyrus calleryana

By SYLVIA December 25, 2020


Callery Pear Quick Facts
Name: Callery Pear
Scientific Name: Pyrus calleryana
Origin China South-Central, China Southeast, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, China North-Central
Colors Green when young turning to olive-brown to tan in color speckled with tiny russet dots as they mature
Shapes Spherical to slightly oblong, 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) in diameter, brown to yellow-brown, white to tan dotted
Taste Bitter

Pyrus calleryana, popularly called Callery pear is an upright-branched ornamental tree belonging to Rosaceae (Rose family). The plant is native to China South-Central, China Southeast, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and China North-Central. It is most commonly known for its cultivar ‘Bradford’, widely planted throughout the United States and increasingly regarded as an invasive species. Bradford pear and Callery pear are the most popular common names of Pyrus calleryana. The species is named after the Italian-French Sinologue Joseph-Marie Callery (1810–1862), a French missionary, who discovered and collected this plant in China in 1858 and sent specimens of the tree to Europe. Bradford has been widely planted since the 1950s in residential and commercial areas in many parts of the U.S. Notwithstanding its beautiful form; over time it has become apparent that Bradford has inherent and significant structural weaknesses.

Callery pears are remarkably resistant to disease or fire blight though some cultivars such as ‘Bradford’ are particularly susceptible to storm damage and are regularly disfigured or even killed by strong winds, ice storms, heavy snow, or limb loss due to their naturally rapid growth rate.

Callery Pear Facts

Name Callery Pear
Scientific Name Pyrus calleryana
Native China South-Central, China Southeast, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, China North-Central
Common Names Bradford pear, Callery pear
Name in Other Languages Chinese: Dou li, Mamenashi (豆梨)

Danish: Kina-Pære
English: Bradford pear, Callery pear
Finnish: Kiinanpäärynä
French: Poirier de Chine
Japanese: Mame-nashi (マメナシ)
Polish: Grusza drobnoowocowa
Portuguese: Pereira-comum-da-china
Swedish: Litet kinapäron|
|Plant Growth Habit|Medium-sized ornamental deciduous tree|
|Growing Climates|Slopes, plains, mixed valley forests, thickets, stream sides, woodland edges, bottomland forests, old field fencerows, roads, rights-of-ways, along the margins of understory along creek banks, degraded open woodlands, woodland borders and fallow fields|
|Plant Size|Up to 60 ft. (18 m) in height and 2 ft. (0.6 m) in diameter|
|Bark|Bark is light brown to reddish-brown and smooth with lenticels in younger plant turning to greyish-brown with shallowly furrowed and scaly ridges with maturity|
|Twigs|Twigs are thorn less in cultivated trees, but in wild types (including trees that develop from sprouts of a tree that was felled), the twigs end in thorns. Twigs are reddish-brown to grey with large, ovate, fuzzy terminal buds about 0.5 to 1.5 centimeters in length on branch tips and spur shoots.|
|Leaf|Leaves are alternate, simple, generally oval, to 3 inches long, with rounded teeth, glossy green, turning orange, gold, red, pink, and/or purple in fall|
|Flowering season|April to May|
|Flower|Large clusters of brilliantly white, 5-petaled flowers, 1 inch (2.5 cm) across with many jutting, maroon-tipped anthers, appearing before leaves|
|Fruit Shape & Size|Spherical to slightly oblong, 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) in diameter, brown to yellow-brown, white to tan dotted, resembles a tiny pear, very bitter|
|Fruit Color|Green when young turning to olive-brown to tan in color speckled with tiny russet dots as they mature|
|Propagation|By seed and root suckers|
|Season|September to October|

" In Defense of Bradford Pear


I wrote this article for and decided to cross post it here.

Every year, around this time, social media begins to rumble in uproar over Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana). With headlines like “The Curse of the Bradford Pear,” “Bradford pear tree: How the trees can hurt people, then environment,” and finally “I Just Hate Bradford Pear,” it’s no wonder people have it out for them. The trees have NO GOOD PRESS and, unfortunately, it’s much easier for hoards of people to fall in line with anti-invasive rhetoric than to understand who or what they are trying to demonize. In light of this, the time has come to take a stand for this poorly misunderstood tree.

Bradford pear belongs to the species Pyrus calleryana, which is why it is sometimes called “Callery.” This species of pear is native to China, where the range goes from sea-level to 5000 feet in elevation, spanning a thousand miles inland as the crow flies. Cousins of callery pear are also in Northern Korea and Japan, showing an immense climate and site adaptability for the species.

Pyrus calleryana in Japan

How did it get to the US?:

In the early 20th century, the Pacific Northwest contained many orchards of Pyrus communis, or French pears. These pears were being ravaged by fireblight (Erwinia amylovora), a native bacterial disease, and professor Frank Reimer was pulling his hair out over the potential loss of the West Coast commercial pear industry if a control for fireblight wasn’t found soon. Researchers have long known that Asia’s gene pool for fruit and nuts is much older than European or American genetics, and likely hold resistances or much improved tolerances to pest and disease due to the long and slow co-evolution over time. Reimer knew, from his research, that Pyrus calleryana and Pyrus ussuriensis were inherently resistant, so he put out an SOS to obtain pear seed from Asian regions in order to hopefully find resistance.

Professor Frank Reimer, left

Professor Frank Reimer, left

Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum in Massachusetts answered his call in 1908, sending plant explorer EH Wilson (aka “Chinese” Wilson) to China to see what he could find. Once there, he collected P. calleryana seeds from 4,000-5,000 feet in elevation and sent them to be grown out in Boston. Many of these proved to be hardy for Massachusetts and many people, including professor Frank Reimer, got excited. Given the potential for Pyrus callerana to save the commercial pear industry in the PNW, the USDA decided to add callery pear to their fruit’s explorer’s collection list.

At the time, the USDA had been going through a period of glitz and glam concerning their plant exploration program. The golden child at the center of this hubub was the darling plant explorer David Fairchild, the person responsible for bringing over German hops, the avocado, and kale (among many, many other things). With his notoriety and prestige, he married into the fabulously wealthy family of Alexander Graham Bell, and was feeling the need to step down from his travels abroad in order to start a family. Instead of Fairchild himself going on the pear mission, he delegated the job to one of the toughest mofos alive: Frank Meyer. Dutch born, Meyer was known for his ability to walk 30+ miles a day, everyday, forever.

Frank Meyer in Turkestan

This would be no small job, either. According to Arnold Arboretum, 25 pounds of seed would require picking seeds out of 5000 pounds of fruit. That’s the equivalent of 125 bushels of tiny (8.5mm on average) callery pear fruits, which would be maddening to collect by hand. This wasn’t a problem for Meyer, though, as he probably preferred tiny pear seeds to interacting with people. With his marching orders, he set out on this pear mission, writing the following to his boss, David Fairchild:

A letter to David Fairchild from Frank Meyer April 16, 1917

A letter to David Fairchild from Frank Meyer April 16, 1917

Once the first batches of seeds were back in the States, they went under commercial pear rootstock monitoring for fireblight resistance. These pear seeds produced vigorous, uniform trees that, when inoculated with fireblight, proved to be the most resistant of any pear tree they had evaluated, by a landslide (double the resistance of Pyrus ussurriensis and far more vigorous). The chart below reveals the results of this trial:

Fireblight Results Callery Pear Innoculation.png

In later studies, Reimer reported that 11% of P. calleryana trunk inoculations showed a severe fireblight infection. Which, by the way, is pretty amazing. When I innoculated my apple seedlings with fireblight ooze, 95% of them showed severe infection or died.

In addition to having stellar fireblight resistance, Callery pears were tested on a variety of sites and were found to thrive in nearly all soil and moisture scenarios, from coarse sand underlain by granite to heavy clay. They also found Callery pears to have a lower chilling requirement than P. communis (French pear rootstock) (source), allowing for it to be grown in more erratic seasonal conditions (which might not have been a big deal then but MAN is that a big deal now). This pear species was seen as the most bomb-proof, resilient rootstock around on which to grow our favorite eating pears, and even produced yields 32% above the same cultivars grafted to P. communis (Source: Westwood, Pear Rootstocks for the Northwest. NAFEX POMONA Vol 3, Number 2, 1970). With the excitement and growing popularity of using callery pear as rootstock, the US continued with seed gathering trips to China for decades.

From Amazing to Pariah, what happened?

First of all, most of what you read about the introduction of Bradford pear (P. calleryana) to America is incorrect, as I’ve just given you the real history above. Outlets like The Grumpy Gardner, a now-retired columnist for all things horticulture at Southern Living Magazine, have done a lot of damage spewing emotion-based information to people who don’t know any better. With little challenge to any of the points ever made, he and others managed to create a culture of emotional reaction surrounding P. calleryana, rather than a much needed practical one. For the record, the chances of you being allergic to Bradford Pears are slim to none because they aren’t wind pollinated. Bullied, bruised, blamed and constantly soaked in toxic agri-chemicals to try and kill it, the Callery pear is one of the most shamed species in the US. If you don’t believe me, look no further than the hundreds of online articles that alone focus on how the blooms smells like male ejaculate (that’s spermadine and putresine you’re smelling and it’s in a lot more plants than you think, including the beloved American chestnut).

Why didn’t Callery become the main rootstock of all pear production in the US? According to Reimer, on average, the tree isn’t very hardy (doesn’t like to grow colder than 7a, or below -10 fahrenheit), it doesn’t propagate all that well from stooling beds (primary means of producing rootstocks in the nursery industry), and has poor fruit qualilty. Why fruit quality matters for a rootstock is beyond me, but it was listed as a reason. In regions 7a and hotter, though, Callery pear is the best rootstock onto which one could graft European and Asian pear cultivars, but the research conducted on these pears was West coast centric and never really made it over to the East, even after Callery became a dreaded invasive.

Root Stock to Ornamental to Monster:

The Glenn Dale Maryland USDA research site had planted many P. calleryana seeds from Frank Meyer’s collection and by 1950, there were still a few P. calleryana trees remaining at the location. In 1952, researchers took notice of one particular thornless (many wild apples and pears have thorns) tree with an amazing white bloom (Callery produces fruit on lateral branches, on the previous year’s wood and on spurs of older wood. According to Reimer, It probably produces more blossoms than any other species of Pyrus). Thinking this could be of ornamental quality, cuttings were taken from this tree, grafted onto a seedling Callery pear rootstock, and planted in a subdivision nearby for testing. These trees were pruned/maintained, and after 8 years of oohs and ahhhs, they named the cultivar ‘Bradford,’ in honor of the horticulturalist who recognized its potential as an ornamental tree. By 1962, the Bradford Pear was available commercially and it became one of the most widely planted suburban trees in the US.



Around this time, other research stations and arboretums were noticing the ornamental value of the seeds planted from Meyer’s explorations. The National Arboretum produced, from a seedling selection, a cultivar called “White House,” and a seedling now known as “Autumn Blaze” was selected from the Horticultural Farm in Corvalis, Oregon.

The late 1960’s welcomed a gold-rush era of Callery pears, with many nurseries planting out seedlings from the original collections of Frank Meyer in order to find the next Bradford. This, friends, is where we start to transition from Amazing Rootstock to Amazing Ornamental Street Tree to “The Curse of the Bradford Pear.”

Pyrus calleryana is amazing for all of the reasons I listed above (insect and disease resistance, able to grow in a variety of soils and climates), but did you know it is also largely resistant to pest like deer, Japanese beetles, and wood boring beetles? The tree is precocious (often 3 years to fruit), the first to leaf out in the spring and the last to drop its leaves in the fall/winter. All of these qualities are noteworthy, yet have gone largely unnoticed due to one thing: The original ‘Bradford’ tree was self sterile.

When a tree is self-sterile, it cannot reproduce with itself in order to create progeny (fruit with viable seed). This wasn’t a problem when Bradford clones were planted out in the DC suburbs, because they were all genetically identical. When the bees would visit the flowers of one tree, and then the next, the pollen was sterile and did nothing to further fruit development. However, that was just one cultivar’s genes.

Remember when I said that Meyer walked 30+ miles a day? He covered so much ground while in China that he sent seed from Callery pear populations hundreds of miles apart. As it turns out, these populations produce genetically distinct cultivars under the species, and are totally able to cross with one another. Which they did once all those populations were brought together to intermingle in the US.

When the other ornamental selections like “White House” and “Autumn Blaze” showed up on the streets, the self-sterile Bradford pears soon became promiscuous in the neighborhood. By 1980, 300,000 Callery pear trees had been planted as street trees, producing huge amounts of small fruit with viable seed. From there, seedlings spread far and wide via birds and raccoons.

Today, in certain areas of the US, Callery pear seedlings can be found inhabiting fence-lines and ecologically stressed out pastures/roadsides, causing everyone to scream INVASIVE! THEY’RE INVASIVE! OMG KILL THEM. I CAN’T EVEN THINK STRAIGHT RIGHT NOW. EWWWW. IS THAT SPERM I SMELL? KILL.

But let’s take it out of all caps for a moment and go a bit deeper, because they deserve a chance.

Why is it so successful in the landscape?

Look, when you get into research about exotic plant species in the US, a huge majority of papers are biased in their research scope to focus on their invasiveness rather than what they offer. For instance, this paper (and there are many like this) decided to go ahead and only name one bird, the invasive European Starling, as being responsible for spreading callery pear in the landscape.

Screen Shot 2021-03-29 at 10.51.48 AM.png

This is a type of fear mongering that I find over and over again. Rather than list the native birds that actually feed on Callery pear (there are MANY), research tends to dwell on the negative ones in order to further demonize this tree. I’ve been writing this paper for nearly 3 years (because 2 editions of this have been deleted on accident) and the only research I have been able to find listing native birds comes out of non-profit research and a masters thesis from Michigan, both BURIED in google. Over time and with much frustration given the extreme biases of US research, I decided to broaden my search for Callery pear dispersal in other countries, and the following is what I found out of Australia:

Size of fruit matters given the diversity of birds.

Size of fruit matters given the diversity of birds.

As you can see from the diagram above, the size of fruit directly corresponds with the number of frugivorous bird species that eat them. Like most ornamental fruit trees, Callery pear’s small fruit (8.5mm on average) is relished by birds, especially since they often have a tendency to hang on the tree well into winter- providing some much needed winter food for the birds that stick around.



Ok, so lets briefly put this all together: Ornamental= small fruit= bird food= birds poop= up comes Callery pear= produces thorns so not browsed= very tolerant of all the diseases= very tolerant of any soil type= it grows and thrives. But also, the Southeast is seriously just like China’s native range for Callery Pear (dark grey)…

I have two trains of thought that I’d like to go down: Fruit size and human impact on the land

1.) Fruit size: The average untamed fenceline in my climate contains autumn olive, barberry, multiflora rose, Callery pear, oriental bittersweet, honeysuckle, greenbriar, flowering dogwood, privet, american holly, hackberry, black cherry and a growing number of ailanthus. With exception to Ailanthus (which has a winged seed), what do all of these species have in common? They all produce fruits less than 15mm in size. Whenever there is a perch, such as a fenceline or a powerline, you’ll often see these species because they have small fruits that birds eat. The reason why we see so many Callery pear along these areas as well as in old fields and the built environment leads me towards the second thought…

2.) Human impact on land. Unlike many of the other species I mentioned in the paragraph above, Callery pear can thrive in compacted, low nutrient, poor draining soil with blazing sun and oppressive humidity. The reason why we see so much of it is because it thrives where humans have arrived and destroyed. Places like old fields, for example, which are are nutrient poor and compacted due to the robber-farmer that took more than the field could supply. Often in my area, those fields once supported tobacco and now are hayed by good-ole boy farmers in the area to keep the property in ag taxation for the owner, but no one ever puts any love/nutrition back into the land. What will grow in this scenario? Callery.

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How can we make these pears less invasive?

Due to Callery’s fruit size attracting a high diversity of fruit eating birds, we can’t stop birds from eating the little pears and pooping in marginalized areas like fencelines and worn out pastures. To think we can kill enough Callery pear to make a difference is a lesson in futility because 1.) We live in the United States and you can’t go kill a neighbor’s tree in the name of INVASIVES if they don’t want you to and 2.) Each tree produces thousands of fruits. So, with that said, here are my top solutions to sustainably make Callery pear less invasive and more useful.

1.) Citizen Breeding. What makes Callery pear invasive is its ability to produce copious amounts of small fruits, which birds then eat and distribute all over the place. It seems logical, then, to want to try and breed larger fruits into our populations of Callery in order to stop the spread by birds. In order to reduce invasiveness by around 80%, all it takes is getting these trees to produce fruits that are around an inch (25mm) in diameter. Throughout the South and Southern New England, this is happening already in the “wild.” I’ve noticed trees that strongly look to be be hybrids of P. calleryana with P. communis (French) and/or P. pyrifolia (Asian). These trees have much larger fruits, usually golfball sized or larger and are often loaded with fruits dripping from the trees due to callery’s lateral bearing genetics (a possible phenotype identifier for callery hybrids). No research that I can find has evaluated the genetics of these larger fruited callery-like pears to see what exactly they are hybridized with, but I’m happy to help supply specimens if anyone out there takes an interest.

What is needed to hybridize these pears and get them larger? For starters, you’re going to need a collection of pears that bloom at the same time as Callery, which is quite early. Russian/Cold Climate and early Asian pears are likely your best bet for this, so I went through the GRIN database and have made a starter-list (there are a bunch more):

PI 541904- Seuri Li
PI 45845- Yaguang Li
PI 437051- Jubilee (cold hardy)
PI 541925- Kor 2
PI 267863- Pingo Li
PI 134606- Tioma (cold hardy)
PI 278727- La Providence
PI 278731- Sivaganga Estate
PI 307497- Seu Ri
PI 292377- Ranniaia Mleevskaia (cold hardy)
PI 541760- Chieh li x Japanese Golden Russet
PI 278729- Samy’s Estate
PI 541761- Chieh Li x Japanese Golden Russet 2
PI 541905- Szumi
PI 127715- Krylov (cold hardy)
PI 541326- Angelica Di Saonara
PI 324028- B-52 (cold hardy)
PI 541290- Mag 1 (cold hardy)
PI 132103- Shu Li
PI 312509- Tse Li

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You can request scions online from September 1 to February 1, of every year from GRIN. You can also probably buy many of these cultivars online. From there, I highly recommend you share scions of these for free every winter, as I plan to do, in order to help infuse larger fruiting genetics into Calleryana.

You might notice there are a bunch of Asian pears in that list and you might think: Eliza, those pears are super fireblight susceptible! And you are right, of course, but think of it this way: MANY trees that are listed as fireblight susceptible are actually quite tolerant to FB once they are established and reaching sexual maturity. With Callery being an amazingly fireblight tolerant rootstock, this should help to get your topworked trees past the first 2 years of heightened susceptibility so they can start to fruit. Once these Asian pears intermingle with Callery, there are two possible outcomes:

1.) The hybrid offspring are more fireblight tolerant than the grafted Asian pearent’s tolerance

2.) The hybrid offspring is less tolerant to fireblight than the grafted Asian parent’s tolerance and will probably succumb to the disease and die on its own.

Either are a win-win, really.

Next, you’re gonna need to go into your pear thicket and do some cutting and grafting. There are two scenarios I see often:

1.) Field full of Callery: If you have a thick field of calleryana, I would recommend getting a forestry mulcher in and cut/mulch rows into the existing Callery stand. Then, run the mulcher to cut out trees within the rows left standing so the remaining are at 15 foot spacings. Top the trees you’ve left behind above deer browse ( throw into the alley and run over those, too, with the mulcher) and graft on the early blooming large fruited cultivars.

2.) Fenceline/Border with Callery: This is the scenario We’ve been dealing with over the past few years along the farm fenceline. First thing I do is flag the trees I want to keep, which are at 15 foot spacings along the fence. Then we cut out and chip all the non-flagged callery trees using my neighbor’s chipper (I mulch my orchard with callery pear wood chips). While we are cutting out the non-flagged trees, I go ahead and also cut the tops out of the flagged trees. I pick a height that is above deer browse height and also has a lot of clear wood without branches, because that helps with grafting. In April (I’m in zone 7a), I make fresh cuts on the remaining pear trees and topwork all of them to fruiting cultivars. We’ve been doing this for 3 years and 2018’s topworked pears will be producing fruit this year.

Topworked fenceline callery pear to a local french heirloom cultivar. This was grafted in April of 2021

This is totally doable and the result? An orchard of pears! You’d have to cut the tree down anyway if you were going to spray it, so why not turn it into a producing pear tree of value? My neighbors even pitched in to help us cut and chip in the name of supporting my vision and also getting rid of the fruiting portion of the Callery trees.

In 2-3 years, your top-worked pears will be flowering and that’s all part of your plan, as bees will mingle between surrounding Callery and the large-fruited cultivars you grafted. All of a sudden, your chances of getting larger fruit to come up from that fertilized seed will exponentially increase. And did I mention that you’ve also made yourself an orchard?

2.) Use them as rootstocks! Every Callery pear growing is automatically the best pear rootstock around. For all of you people out there who are inundated with deer pressure, graft to the Callery pears to any pear you’d like (or Winter Banana apple). Sure, you’ll get lots of leafy re-growth off the trunk for a couple years (which the deer or other livestock eat as tender shoots), but its also really easy to remove new growth with your hands (they pop off) or slightly older growth with pruners, and brand new shoots don’t have thorns. You’ll start to get fruit in 2-3 years.

One of the main reasons why Callery didn’t catch on as a rootstock, aside from root propagation failures and hardiness, is that they don’t produce dessert fruit (fruit meant for out of hand eating). This is the same reason why we’ve lost SO MANY fruit cultivars in the last 100 years. If you weren’t a dessert cultivar chosen by the cooperative extension to be grown in the early 20th century, you were phased out. However, in today’s markets, large fruited Callery pear hybrids really have a chance in fermentation, specifically cider blends and perry (cider made from pears). They are high in sugar (over 16% brix on average for the 200 or so hybridized trees I’ve evaluated), and run the gamut in acidity, tannins, aromatics and unusual characteristics. Since these trees are so disease and pest tolerant, which allows them to grow and produce copious amounts of fruit without the hand of humans or chemicals, they stand to produce the most sustainable fruits and alcohol in the South. We need more people working with them in order to make this happen because they aren’t apples and they need their own methods.



Makes me wonder if the issue is that experts say to not refrigerate forelle pears and every store does. Hopefully I can have an answer for you soon this year. There is a crop on the tree.

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This attached pdf document is discussing many fireblight resistant pears. It discusses the garber pear x anjou cross is where the ayers pear comes from. This is signifigant information if anyone wants to further the research. Tenn which is less well known originated in the same program. This is from April of 1954 bulletin no. 236. This confirms what we learned from here SE Pears . In my experience ayers can have some grit some years or an off tasting skin some years. Here is what was said
" Breeder(s): Brooks D. Drain; University of Tennessee.
History: Not to be confused with a chance seedling with a very similar name found in Kansas. Originated from a ‘Garber’ X ‘Anjou’ cross made in 1937. Because ‘Garber’ is thought to be a P. pyrifolia X P. communis hybrid, ‘Ayres’ is one quarter Asian pear and three-quarters European.
It was named in honor of Dr. Brown Ayres who was elected president of the University of Tennessee in 1904.
Rootstocks used: Old Home x Farmingdale #‘s 333 & 513 and P. calleryana seedling.
Orchards grown in: Apex, NC; Pittsboro, NC orchards A & B.
Fruit quality: Excellent, buttery-textured pears with a rich, perfumed, sweet (18.4° Brix on average in 2009), sprightly, slightly spicy flavor. These pears are very juicy. Flesh is smooth, with few noticeable grit cells. One otherwise fantastic book, Fireblight , unfairly implies that Ayres is poor quality by saying, “Garber, Kieffer, LeConte, Pineapple, and more recently Ayres, Mooers, and Orient are the best known of these gritty, coarse-fleshed fruit hybrids.” But don’t believe them, it’s fake news, people! SAD! Seriously, Ayers (and possibly Mooers) are not like the others listed. I would agree with the authors’ characterization on the others, but Ayres is neither coarse nor gritty!
Fruit size: Small. 83 g/fruit in 2009; 81 g/fruit median in 2010. Larger than ‘Seckel’, but smaller than other supermarket pears.
Fruit appearance: Attractive golden, uniform russet with a beautiful red blush on the sunny side over a golden-yellow background.
Culinary characteristics: We’ve never cooked them. They are simply too delicious and beautiful, and so even when we’ve had abundant crops, they were easily given away to very happy recipients. People who have tried them always ask for more.
Storage characteristics: Keep well for at least three weeks in common cold storage.
Harvest season: Early-middle of the pear season; ripens after ‘Wilder Early’ and ‘Dabney’, but before ‘Potomac’ and about a week before ‘Spalding’, in other words, mid-July to mid-August in Pittsboro. in Pittsboro, NC. In Tennessee, they were said to ripen from mid-August to early September (Brooks & Drain. 1954.)
Pollination: Male sterile. There are some reports on the Internet that ‘Ayres’ is partially self-pollinating. Then again, you can find all kinds of incorrect information on the Internet. I’ve always had more than one cultivar in my orchards with ‘Ayres’, but I generally think the careful work of the university and government scientists is more reliable than some random internet post. Bloom season: “Medium-late” according to Brooks & Drain in Tennessee. In my experience, it blooms either with ‘Spalding’ to one week after, depending on the winter. (In winters with lots of chill hours, the bloom season is more compressed than in winters with limiting chill hours.)
Diseases: Very resistant to fireblight. I’ve rarely seen blight on any of my ‘Ayres’ trees, but the few times I have seen strikes, they progressed no more than 5-10 cm. Somewhat resistant to pear leaf spot.
Precocity: precocious; first fruit set 2-3 years after planting on OHxF #513 rootstock.
Productivity: Tends to bear biennally unless thinned well in “on” years. With thinning and good pollination, they bear annually and yield well. Bore almost a kilogram of fruit in its 3rd year after planting.
Growth habit: Too vigorous on standard (calleryana) stock. With a semi-dwarfing or dwarfing rootstock, ‘Ayres’ is still vigorous, but becomes quite manageable. It has mostly good, wide crotch angles.
If the inconsistent production problems of this cultivar could be overcome, it has commercial potential in the Southeastern U.S., in my opinion.

References other than my own experience:
University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station; Drain, Brooks D.; and Shuey, G. A., “Breeding and Testing Fire Blight-Resistant Pears” (1954). Bulletin #236. (can be downloaded at: "Breeding and Testing Fire Blight-Resistant Pears" by University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, Brooks D. Drain et al.
Fireblight: USDA."

This link can be used to see additional information on Tenn

This link can be used to see additional information on Ayers

Tenn is not ayers but i could see how the two pears would be confused. The descriptions and appearances i discuss here on this thread when the inquiry was made.

So who was Dr. Brown Ayers you might ask who this infamous sugar pear of the south was named after?
This paper was published Jan 29th 1919 and the title reads " DR. BROWN AYRES DEAD.; President of University of Tennessee Dies in Knoxville at 62." The article is on page 13 of the New York Times.

Here are a few photos i took of ayers

These are a few photos of Tenn pears on a young tree. Tenn ripens later in the year than ayers. Its my opinion that the asian pear genetics are fairly obvious in this pear.

This is the part everyone will love to here. The pear Tenn is said to produce two crops in Houston. This is what ARS GRIN said in their description
"Excellent quality, medium sized dessert pear. Reportedly came out of the Tennessee breeding program with Ayres. Apparently there is more than one cultvar propagated as Tenn in the South. This is the good one. It has a slightly pyriform shape, fairly uniform, and has a nice red blush on one side. About 350 - 400 chill hours (commonly sets two crops in Houston). Tree is very large and spreading on calleryana. " Pictures can be found at this link PI 617601 GRIN-Global

Which i mentioned at this link before

Breeding and Testing Fire Blight-Resistant Pears.pdf (2.9 MB)


Thanks for pointing that out :slightly_smiling_face:

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Since your in California i know the chill hours can be pretty important. The 350 - 400 chill hours (commonly sets two crops in Houston) is important as well. I will try to follow up with @39thparallel and see if i can give him scion wood to get into his nursery so he can get some of these trees out there. Once anyone can get a Tenn pear tree the scion wood will get passed around quickly. The USDA ars grin program gets swamped with scion requests every year for these ultra rare pears.

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Note the name on this pdf yes that magness the magness pear is named after who also was believed to develop the warren pear.

J. R. MAGNESS, Principal Pomologist,
Division of Fruit and Vegetable Crops
and Diseases, Bureau of Plant Industry

PDF.pdf (986.1 KB)

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This is great, thanks for this!

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Leona is a bit of a mystery pear Leona Pear
Leona Pear originated in Louisiana about 1930. The pear is large and apple shaped. The fruit is large and very sweet. Leona is a high-quality dessert pear. It can be slow to begin producing.
Leona Pear – Bass Pecan

Texture is crisp and gritty, tough, not very juicy or sweet, mild sour-apple like flavor.

Travis Callahan, southern pear chairman for the North American Fruit Explorers, likes ‘Louisiana Beauty’ (a.k.a. ‘Leona’), the best pear he grows in Abbeville, Louisiana.

As you can see reviews of the pear are very different depending on who gives them. There is a great deal we still dont know about this pear.

Below is what the usda has to say about this pear.


01 December 1994. Texas, United States
Comment: Originated in Converse, Louisiana about 1930. Received from Natelson to NCGR-Corvallis.


Dr. Ethan A. Natelson
8707 Wateka Drive
Houston, Texas 77074
United States

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.

There are vague mentions of the pear among pear growers who sell pears. Im not at all sure sometimes how to use the information but its worth noting.


A guide we frequently use to identify the different 3000 pears can be seen here LESCRETS FRUITS ET POMOLOGIE LISTE des variétés de poires existantes . The European pears are mentioned here LESCRETS FRUITS ET POMOLOGIE LISTE des variétés de poires existantes


1071 years before Jesus Christ, to the time of David, peartree appears already under walls of Jerusalem.
Later Greeks cultivated some four varieties and Romans 178 years before Jesus Christ ate it again withCaton that identified even Six different varieties.
Two centuries after, Pline quoted forty onevarieties of pears to plant in Roman gardens.

The Middle Ages until 1850, the evolution of the culture of the pear was more important than the apple.

At the end of 19 century, in France, more of 900 varieties were listed and today it exists somemore of 3000 varieties through the world.
It is elsewhere in France that are born all the great varieties consumed again today throughthe world (or their relatives)."



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Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture 1862 - Pears.pdf (2.8 MB)

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This question (asked on another thread—and answered by our estimable host) had also occurred to me:

But it seems that both pears originated in the same place and at around the same time, the nursery of André Leroy in Angers, France in the mid-nineteenth century; and that both are apparently named for the same man, Dr. André Desportes, who was Leroy’s longtime nursery manager (according to Morgan’s Book of Pears, from which I also derived my information regarding the “Docteur Desportes” pear’s origins in Angers, ca. 1854) and the son (and perhaps successor, if Morgan is correct) of another Leroy manager, Baptiste Desportes (according to Hedrick) . “André Desportes” (a seedling of “Williams’ Bon Chrétien”—aka “Bartlett”) was known in the U.S. in the nineteenth century, whereas “Docteur Desportes”—which, according to this French site, was first obtained by a horticulturalist and nurseryman named Treyve (possibly François-Marie Treyve or one of his sons) of Trévoux in 1893—was apparently not commercially available even in France until the end of the century. Hartman in Catalog and Evaluation of the Pear Collection at the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station (1957) suggests that the first commercial listing for “Docteur Desportes” was in the Leroy catalog of 1912. However, the contemporary Journal de la Société Nationale d’Horticulture de France notes that Treyve was offering grafts in 1893.

Whether all of this information is correct or not, I haven’t the time to ascertain. But I roughly pieced together these scraps of data in a spare moment—mainly because I find this sort of thing fascinating. Perhaps somebody with the interest—and better access to French sources—can shine more light on the origins of these two pears.

EDIT: If the good doctor truly was the namesake of both, he must’ve really been some fellow to have had two pears named in his honor, don’t you think? :slightly_smiling_face:



Very interesting! Pears breeders like Van Mons were very famous Breeding New Varieties of Fruit - #54 by clarkinks
See this thread
Breeding New Varieties of Fruit

Ayer was a local to Kansas pear breeder. He made crosses such as Ayer , Douglas etc. Douglas Pear - #53 by clarkinks

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Clark, Have you grown and liked “Bergamotte Esperen” ? I looked for a scion about 35 years ago, gave up, and forgot about it. Can’t even remember why I wanted it unless it was high quality.


" COR - Pyrus communis shroyers sunset**
Oregon’s Home Orchard Society (HOS) voted at their November 2018 annual meeting to name a favorite pear selection in memory of long-time member Jerald (Jerry) Shroyer who was born on November 24, 1932 and died on November 9, 2017. Shroyer’s Sunset (PI 541201) is a delicious little pear that was among hundreds of varieties transferred to the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository when it opened in 1981 from Oregon State University’s Experiment Station near Medford. Little is known about this un-named selection from Canada, other than it was from a cross made in 1925 by O.A. Bradt in Ontario. The catalog at the Southern Oregon Experiment Station listed this pear as HES 25021, the letters presumably an acronym for ‘Harrow Experiment Station’. There are no records to link this selection to a particular pedigree, however the fruit resembles the cultivar Seckel in size, shape and coloration, although it tends to be slightly larger than ‘Seckel’. The fruit ripens in mid-September, and like ‘Seckel’ has superb texture and flavor. HES 25051, now Shroyer’s Sunset, has been a favorite of HOS members during their annual visits to the USDA Pear Repository in Corvallis."

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I’m familiar with it

Pear variety Bergamotte Esperen - A very late pear variety with a very high production - YouTube

You might like this “Antique Print-PEAR-BERGAMOTTE D’ESPEREN-CURE-BELLE ADRIANNE-Berghuis-1868”



Original colour chromolithograph with hand colouring on a vellin type paper. on paper.

Size in cm: The overall size is ca. 23.5 x 31 cm. The image size is ca. 18 x 25 cm. Size in inch: The overall size is ca. 9.3 x 12.2 inch. The image size is ca. 7.1 x 9.8 inch.

Plate II Pl.21.: ‘Bergamotte d’Esperen (41) and Cure / Bon Papa / Belle Adrienne / Comice de Tourlon (42).’ (Pear varieties from Belgium and France.) Original descriptive text included (sometimes a copy in case of one page describing 2 plates). This decorative original old antique print / lithograph originates from: ‘De Nederlandsche Boomgaard ….’ (translation: The Dutch Orchard.), by the Pomological Society at Boskoop, the Netherlands, with plates after S. Berghuis, published in 1868. This awarded and respected work was printed in an estimated 1200 copies and contains plates of many species and variations of fruits: apples, pears, apricots, peaches and cherries. It provided great knowledge of the Dutch fruit variety and underscored the fame of the Boskoop fruit tree nursery industry.Artists and Engravers: The plates were drawn by Samuel Berghuis and printed by Severeyn’s Chromolithographic Institute in Belgium.

Condition: Excellent. General age related toning and the usual light foxing.


(PCO) A143-21"


Nice video.