I’m only guessing that donation of the Shannon pear came from Delbert McCombs but I’m 99% sure. He owns Earth’s Rising Nursery in Oregon. You could email him and ask for additional information. By the way anyone else wanting this pear that’s also the one place you can buy one. He says this " Late October ripening dessert quality fruit. Fawn-colored, velvet smooth, sweet, juicy, spicy flavor."
I know this is very late, two years late, but I just searched Shannon Pear and found your post, and joined the Growing Fruit community. I do know about Shannon pears, and I have two growing in my back yard. This was a pear sold at the farmer’s market in Albany, Oregon, by an octogenarian. It was a tremendous favorite, and when the man stopped selling them a lot of people tried to find a source for them, without a result. The Seed Savers Exchange knew nothing about them, nor did the Clonal Germplasm Repository, which is in Corvallis. But it turns out that Earth Rising Nursery (run by Delbert, mentioned in the next post) had gotten scion wood before the seller retired, and offered Shannon pears. I found that he had them available when I searched “Shannon pear” and got a diary entry by someone in Eugene, Oregon, who said that she had consulted Delbert about what kinds of fruit trees to plant, and he had suggested Shannon pears. Earth Rising, a small company run by Delbert, offers excellent trees at a very good price, with interesting varieties. However, his latest two catalogs didn’t offer Shannon anymore. He has a good system where people in the immediate area can pay a very small fee and he will deliver their trees on a day when he is in the area, saving the expense of packing and mailing. I also bought a Dolgo Crabapple from him, which has been a delight, tart-sweet and very prolific. They stay on the tree.
My Shannon pears were slow to come into bearing. I planted the first one in 2014, and another in 2015, and the first sample pears I got were in 2021, about 10. And none last year. But this year the tree was covered top to bottom with extremely abundant blooms. And now the petals are gone, and I can see it is setting up so much fruit that I will probably want to thin them. By the way, they are totally delicious! Tangy but sweet, a complex flavor.
As for suitability for South Carolina, that might be interesting to test, if you are patient enough to wait for them. Oregon (west of the Cascades) is well suited for pears and apples. The fact that you got the scion wood suggests that someone might have shared it to a group.
The sellers name was Jake Tann. I think you will be very interested in this source Hard to find apple or pear? Check Kansas - #9 by clarkinks . I suspect the Nick Botner collection still has the Shannon pear in it. My suspicion is the wagon wheel nursery in Kansas was getting much of their scions by someone affiliated with botner. They offerred Shannon. It is possible they could have been going through the usda or other sources. The grand champion aka Shannon pear you both grow is extremely rare! I did not know Earth’s Rising Nursery quit selling them! Thanks for posting i would love to see photos of your trees! If you decide to share scion wood in the future i’m sure many people will be interested. Corvallis does still share scions for research purposes PI 638017 GRIN-Global
There are scion exchanges in that area. @murky would know more specifics about those groups.
This is what Mr.Postman said
" Shannon - This pear was grown for many years by Jake Tann, a farmer in the Albany/Tangent area of Linn County, Oregon. Mr. Tann sold fruit at several local farmer markets. The ‘Shannon’ pear was very popular and he had no trouble selling all that he could grow. It has been several years since Mr. Tann has offered fruit at the markets, and the Repository has been contacted on several occasions by individuals trying to locate sources of the ‘Shannon’ pear. Mr. Delbert McCombs obtained scionwood from Mr. Tann a number of years ago, and has been offering trees through his small nursery outside of Monroe, Oregon. He describes the pear as being late ripening, with a velvet smooth texture. – J. Postman, 2004
The pear cultivar ‘Grand Champion’ is a russeted sport of ‘Gorham.’ ‘Grand Champion’ originated in the W.F. Shannon orchard in Hood River, Oregon, in 1936. Perhaps ‘Shannon’ is a synonym for ‘Grand Champion’? – J. Postman Feb.2004."
Thank you for all of this information. I had known about the octogenarian selling Shannon at the Albany Farmer’s Market (years ago) but I hadn’t known his name. I imagine that if you were to get in touch with Delbert at Earth Rising, he might graft some trees for you. I would be very surprised if he didn’t still have one or more Shannon trees.
I’ll take some photos of my two trees, and closeups as the fruit grows.
I’ve never collected scion wood before, but I’ll look up how to do it. I’d be glad to offer it to anyone interested.
Thank you very much i appreciate it! Many good pear trees have been lost to time. Scion collection is done when the tree is dormant. A couple of pencil size branches of new growth 6- 10 inches long are snipped off. That wood is then grafted on a rootstock and more people then grow the pear tree. Scion wood is then used like this to make new pear trees Top working Callery Pears weather permitting
Here is additional information no longer easily available in the USA. I edited the title to include its other name Grand Champion. This will provide the entire story of this pear.
" What is Grand Champion Pear
Grand Champion Pear (scientific name: Pyrus communis cv. Grand Champion Pear) is a species of Western pear, discovered in 1936 in Oregon, USA as a mutation of Gorham “Josephine de Malines” Williams. It was registered in the U.S. in 1943 and introduced to Japan in 1953.
The fruits are small in size, but are popular for their rich flavor, which combines the sweetness of the pear with a sourness.
Flowers appear in April and are harvested from September to October, but the best season is from early October to early November, as they need to ripen for about two weeks before they are tasty. Pears are not ripened on the tree but picked and stored.
Common name: Grand Champion Pear, scientific name: Pyrus communis cv. Grand Champion Pear, cultivar: Grand Champion, year of registration: 1943, country of registration: USA Origin: Oregon, U.S.A.; Arrival in Japan: 1953; Place of origin in Japan: Hokkaido, Nagano; Harvesting season: September to October; Season: Early October to early November; Fruit weight: 250-350g; Fruit shape: chunky cone; Rind color: yellowish brown; Taste: sweet and sour; Applications: Fresh, jam Uses: fresh, jam, sherbet, confectionery. Flowering season: May; flower color: white; flower diameter: 3 cm (medium bloom); blooming style: single-petaled."
Currently @Fusion_power a member of this site is working on cataloging a master list of varities of pears. The mutation Shannon came from the Gorham pear which was bred from Bartlett x Josephine de Malines at the New York Station Geneva, NY, in 1923. Shannon was a genetic bud mutation of the gorham pear. A bud mutation or sport produces something unique like this A truly beautiful pear bloom you must see. Call it rosebud? which is what grand champion aka shannon is. Since W.F. Shannon discovered it, his last name was used. Several varities are called by my name but i did not name them that Clark's Crabapple. A fruit has to be called something. When you give a friend an apple or pear you developed that friend gives it or sells it to others and the next thing you know it’s called Clark’s crabapple.
Thanks for all this information, Clarkinks! I’ll collect scion wood next winter. I can read up on the details first, and wait for requests. For so long, here, the Shannon pear was a total mystery, and seemed only to be local, holding on through the actions of just a few people, mostly Delbert of Earth Rising. Now, through you and this list, a whole history has been revealed.
I have been growing Grand Champion for many years. It is indeed a pear that takes a very long time to produce, I didn’t have my tree in the best spot and it took almost 20 years to fruit. It still is not fruiting reliably but hopefully will eventually decide to settle down. It is also highly susceptible to pear scab. I haven’t gotten an optimally ripe specimen yet as the crows took a liking to them, but it definitely shows promise. It was highly regarded in the Hartmann booklet.
They definitely seem related, both are very late pears which also take forever to fruit. They are the only two varieties in my 20+ year old stand which are not reliably fruiting now. I haven’t gotten enough a taste on either of them due to very few fruit setting and crows swiping. Overall I wouldn’t really recommend either of them unless put on quince, they just take too long to fruit. If you want a late pear with a really rich flavor I would get a Dana Hovey instead, it has been fast to fruit for me.
Thanks for the additional information. Have a rootstock available that fruits very quickly with an interstem. It is not really compatible with most pears on its own. That incompatibility causes fast fruiting. Might ask for a stick of scion next year Scott and see if i can get it to fruit early. Most pears on that rootstock will fruit in half the time.
My Shannon, planted in 2014, is finally starting to make pears. Two years ago it gave me the first few samples, then nothing, and this year there are more but not a huge number. So far the crows haven’t found them, and it doesn’t seem troubled with scab so far. It might only be a matter of time, of course. Later in the fall I’ll take some photos. I’m sure that tree can really use pruning. My mobility has been poor, and I just let it go.
Perhaps you can pick them when the first frost is expected, and see if they ripen indoors. They do all right here, in the Willamette Valley, ripening in October. A long wait for them, but this year it looks like I have about a dozen. It is a good year for pears in general. The tree was planted in 2014. I remember my excitement the first year my Shannon actually produced a few pears. And the taste, which I had heard about, was as good as described. But if that octogenarian sold them at the farmer’s market every fall, to a lot of people, either he had a lot of trees which were fairly old, or maybe they start making heavier crops when the trees are very old.