2017

 
 

The popularity of Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is such that it has eclipsed many other worthy pears. The Callery pear, esp. the Bradford cultivar is quite attractive both in bloom and autumn color and its popularity is at the point that most nurseries, especially the big box discount types, will only carry one pear, the Bradford pear. But there are some limitations to the Bradford pear, such as structural weakness in wind and snow. Fortunately there are numerous other pear trees that are quite attractive and lack the shortcomings of the Bradford. One such pear is the Ussurian pear, sometimes known as the Chinese pear, a.k.a. Pyrus ussuriensis. This pear has a wonderfully full, rounded form that makes a superb specimen tree. In spring, Ussurian pear is smothered in a long-lasting show of white blossoms, each flower an inch or more wide. The summer sees a rich green foliage of medium texture while autumn sees striking red and yellow coloration. And unlike Bradford pear, the Ussurian pear produces small yellow fruits, tart and sweet; both decorative and edible.

This deciduous tree can grow as high as 50 feet though it is usually found at around 35 to 40. It originated in the Russian Far-East, and the Amur and Ussuri river valleys. These are harsh environments and that lends another advantage to this pear, which is extreme cold tolerance. The Ussurian pear grows in areas where a Bradford could never survive, such as Alaska and Canada. Add to this a certain heat-tolerance and fire-blight resistance and you have one very showy specimen tree that is tough and trouble-free.

Ussurian pear grows across much of Canada, the upper half of the US, as well as all of the UK and New Zealand. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

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Ussurian pear

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