Pyrus caucasica Fed. - Caucasian pear

Taxonomic position.

Family Rosaceae Juss., genus Pyrus L.


Pyrus communis L. subsp. caucasica (Fed.) Browicz

Morphology and biology.

This species is a tree, 20-25 (30) m tall, with a broadly pyramidal or oval crown, having numerous prickles when young. The bark on the stem and older branches has deep longitudinal cracks; sometimes the bark peels in large strips or flakes. Young offshoots are greenish or dark brown with a few small, light lenticels. Leaves are 3-5 cm long and 2.5-4.5 cm wide, orbicular-ovate, ovate or oval, with a short sharp tip and a broadly cuneate, rounded or slightly cordate base. The leaves on young plants are sharply serrated on all edges and non-pubescent; those on adult plants are smooth-edged and pubescent only near the edges. Flowers are 2.5-3.5 cm in diameter, assembled in inflorescences of 5-8 flowers. Petals are white or pinkish. Fruits are 1.5-3 cm in diameter, for the most part round or sometimes pyriform, yellow or green-yellow, non-rusty, with residual sepals. Pulp is white or greenish-white, sour-sweet, astringent and bitter, with a large number of seeds, darkening at maturity, edible after seasoning. This species is entomophilous. It is zoochore. Blossoms in April-May; fruits ripen in late July-September. Chromosome number: 2n=34.


This plant grows in the Caucasus. It is endemic to the Caucasus.


This species is a mesophyte. It occurs everywhere in the woodlands of the Caucasus, in mountainous and flat areas with sufficient moisture, often along river valleys. It is usually part of the stands in first- and second-story levels of diverse forests. Pure pear-tree forests are secondary; they emerge in derelict pastures, hayfields and clearings and never last long, as Caucasian pear is superseded by broad-leaved species. This species grows up to elevations of 1,500-1,600 (1,900) m above sea level.

Utilization and economic value.

This plant is used as a food (fruit) and is melliferous. It is a progenitor of many local pear varieties.

Reference citations:

Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. 188-190 p. (In Russian)
Likhonos F.D., Tuz A.S., Lobachev A.Y. 1983. Cultivated flora of the USSR. Pome fruit trees (apple, pear and quince). Vol. 14. Moscow: Kolos. 156-157 p. (In Russian)
Sokolov S.I., Svjaseva O.A., Kubli V.A. 1980. Areas of distribution of trees and shrubs in the USSR. Vol. 2. Leningrad: Nauka. 55 p. (In Russian)

© I.G. Chukhina


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