Ornamental pear trees are native to China and Vietnam, and come from the Rosaceae family. This species is made up of about 22 different varieties found across Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa with Williams’ Bon Chrétien being the most widely grown variety and China being the world’s leading pear producer. The etymological root of Pyrus is from the classic Latin name for the Pear tree.
Ornamental pear trees stand taller and more upright than apple trees and display lush, glossy, green foliage with clouds of beautiful white flowers early in spring, perfect for screening purposes. Then, in autumn, the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange and purple, often adorning the branches well into winter. This year round interest is one of the reasons that these pear trees are so commonly used for avenue planting. Although fruit is produced, ornamental pear trees are rarely grown for this reason with the ornate flowers and bold autumn colour being the main attraction of this species.
These trees are hardy and easy to grow and have been recognised as a good material for woodwind instruments and fine furniture.
Pear trees require very little care throughout the year, with a slight pruning needed in September or early December, depending on the variety and the fruits are best harvested just before they are fully ripened. Asian pear trees produce fruit that are ready to eat as soon as they are picked and are often referred to as ‘Apple Pear trees’ because the fruit is crisp like an apple, whereas the European variety bears a softer, juicer pear that produces a better taste when given time to mature off the tree.