Pyrus communis L. - Common pear

Taxonomic position.

Family Rosaceae Juss., genus Pyrus L.

Morphology and biology.

This species is a deciduous tree, (8) 15-20 (30) m tall, with a broad, oval crown and either prickly or prickle-free branches. Young offshoots are brownish green. Leaves are 2-5 (7) cm long and 1.5-2.5 cm wide, almost orbicular or oval, with a short, sharp tip, smooth-edged or with partially crenate-serrate edges. When leaves emerge, they have white, cobweb-like pubescence below, but they later become bare or pubescent only at the edges. Flowers are 2.5-3 (3.8) cm in diameter, assembled into inflorescences of 5-8 flowers. Petals are white or pinkish with a short unguis. Fruits are pyriform, obtusely cone-shaped or almost spherical, up to 3-4 long and 1.5-3 cm in diameter, green-yellow or yellow, sometimes reddish, with residual sepals. Pulp is white or cream-colored, juicy, sour-sweet, astringent, with a large number of seeds, darkening at maturity, edible after seasoning. This species is extremely variable in size, crown shape, presence of prickles, leaf shape, degree of pubescence, and especially in the size, shape and flavor of fruits.
This species is entomophilous. It is also ornito- and zoochore. Blossoms in April-May; fruits ripen in late August-September. Chromosome number: 2n=34, 51, 68.


It grows throughout a large portion of Eastern Europe (western, central and southern regions), Western Europe (except the UK and Denmark, where it occurs only as a wild plant), Turkey, and northern Iran.


It is a mesophyte. Single trees or small groups grow mainly in deciduous or sometimes coniferous forests, in brushwood and along forest edges. It ascends the mountains as high as 1,100-1,300 m above sea level.

Utilization and economic value.

The plant is used as a food (fruit) and is melliferous. It is the ancestor of numerous well-known pear varieties with excellent fruit. Depending on their flavor qualities, fruits are consumed fresh or dried and are used to prepare compotes and drinks. Wood is used to make musical instruments.

Reference citations:

Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. 193 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. 154-155 p. (In Russian)
Maleyev V.P. 1939. Pear-Pyrus L. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 9. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences. 338-339 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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