Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Pyrus communis - Common pear

Family: Rosaceae (Rose family) [E-flora]

Habitat / Range
Mesic to moist waste places, fields and open forests of the lowland zone; rare in SW BC; introduced from Europe.

Origin Status: Exotic

Pyrus communis is a deciduous Tree growing to 13 m (42ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Oct to December. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution. [PFAF]

Introduction This is a small deciduous species of tree or shrub that is introduced from Europe and is found occasionally in southwestern BC.

General: Large shrub to tree, 5-15 m tall; branches sometimes with thorn-like leaf-spurs, the twigs and buds becoming smooth; bark fissured, scaly.
Leaves: Alternate, deciduous, elliptic to egg-shaped, 5-10 cm long, finely blunt-toothed to nearly entire, abruptly short-pointed at the tip, hairy when young, becoming smooth.
Flowers: Inflorescence a short umbel-like cluster, on a lateral branchlet, of 4 to 12 long-stalked flowers; corollas white, bowl-shaped, the petals 5, egg-shaped to circular, 10-15 mm long; calyces 5-lobed, the lobes triangular, 5 mm long; ovaries inferior; stamens 20-30.
Fruits: Fleshy pomes (pears), pear- to globe-shaped, 2-4 cm or more long (much larger in cultivated forms), 2-5 chambered, the calyx-lobes persisting, the flesh with grit cells.

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Further Medicinal Use

Medicinal Parts: The medicinal part is the fruit Production: Pears are the fruit of Pyrus communis.
In folk remedies, Pear is said to be astringent and cooling.
Unproven Uses: Pear is used in the treatment of mild digestive disorders, while its syrup is used as a diuretic and laxative.
Mode of Administration: Fresh fruit (as food) [PDR]

Indications (Pear) — Bacteria (1; WOI); Constipation (f; PH2); Diabetes (f; WOI); Dyspepsia (f; PH2); Escherichia (1; WOI); Fever (f; PH2); Impotence (f; KAB); Infection (1; WOI) [HMH Duke]

Activities (Pear) — Antibacterial (1; WOI); Antipyretic (f; PH2); Antiseptic (1; WOI); Aphrodisiac (f; KAB); Astringent (f; PH2); Diuretic (f; PH2); Laxative (f; PH2). [HMH Duke]


Fruit acids: malic acid (0.06-0.1%), additionally citric acid, quinic acid
Cyanogenic glycosides: amygdalin (only in the seeds)
Aromatic substances: including (E,Z)-2.4-deca-dien-(E)-2- octen and -(Z)-4-decenacylethylester. acetic acid hexylester
Caffeic acid derivatives: in particular 5-caffeoyl quinic acid
Pectin [PDR]

Prefers a good well-drained loam in full sun[1, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates light shade but does not fruit so well in such a position. Tolerates atmospheric pollution, excessive moisture and a range of soil types, if they are moderately fertile[200], avoiding only the most acid soils[186]. Dislikes very exposed positions[186]. Established plants are drought tolerant[200]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to below -15°c[200]. Plants often sucker and can form dense thickets[186]. A parent of the cultivated pear, possibly by crossing with P. nivalis and P. cordata[11]. There are many hundreds of varieties of cultivated pears and they are widely cultivated in the temperate zone for their edible fruits. By selection of varieties fresh fruits can be obtained from late July to April or May of the following year. Special Features: Edible, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms. Shelterbelt Trees are sometimes used as part of a shelterbelt planting[227].

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn, it will then usually germinate in mid to late winter. Stored seed requires 8 - 10 weeks cold stratification at 1°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible[200]. Temperatures over 15 - 20°c induce a secondary dormancy in the seed[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year.


Pyrus Sp. - Pear

Tree [(shrub)], thorny or not.

± 25 species: northern temperate. (Latin: pear) Pyrus calleryana Dcne. (callery pear) possibly naturalized in California. [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Pyrus communis - common pear [E-flora]


Page last modified on Monday, June 12, 2023 7:46 PM