|Pyrus calleryana subsp. var.||Callery pear|
The Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is a species of pear native to China and Vietnam, in the rose family (Rosaceae). Callery pears are deciduous trees growing to 15 to 20 m tall, often with a conic to rounded crown. Their leaves are oval, 4 to 7 cm long, glossy dark green above, and slightly paler below. The white, five-petaled flowers are about 2 to 3 cm in diameter. They are produced abundantly in early spring, before the leaves expand fully. Some people find their smell unpleasant.
The fruits of the Callery pear are small (less than one cm in diameter), and hard (almost woody) until softened by frost, after which they are readily taken by birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings. In summer, the foliage is dark green and very smooth, and in autumn the leaves commonly turn brilliant colors, ranging from yellow and orange to more commonly red, pink, purple, and bronze. Sometimes, several of these fall colors may be present on an individual leaf. However, since the color often develops very late in fall, the leaves may be killed by a hard frost before full color can develop.
Callery pears are remarkably resistant to sicknesses or blight; they are more often killed by storms or high winds than by sickness. Some cultivars, such as 'Bradford', are particularly susceptible to storm damage.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Pyrus calleryana, Decne., although Chinese, in lf. resembles the crenate-serrate Eurasian type rather than the sharp-eerrate or setose-serrate Chino-Japanese type: lvs. ovate, mostly rounded at base, small, crenate, glabrous: fls. small, with only 2 or 3 styles, in a glabrous infl.; stamens about 20: fr. size of a pea. globular but contracted abruptly into a long slender stalk, calyx deciduous.
In much of North America, cultivars of Callery pear are so widely planted as ornamental trees that they have become a ubiquity in many urban and suburban communities. It is tolerant of a variety of soil types, drainage levels and soil acidity. Its crown shape varies from ovate to elliptical. The symmetry of several cultivars lends to their use in somewhat formal settings, such as city streets, shopping centers, office parks, and industrial parks. Its dense clusters of white blossoms are conspicuous in early spring along the boulevards of many eastern U.S. towns. At the latitude of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the trees often remain green until mid-November, and in warm autumns, the colors are often a brilliant end to the fall color season, although in a cold year they may get frozen off before coloring. In the South, Callery pears tend to be among the more reliable coloring trees.
Pests and diseases
Several cultivars of Callery pear are offered commercially, including 'Aristocrat', 'Autumn Blaze', 'Bradford' (the commonly planted Bradford pear), 'Capital', 'Cleveland Select', 'New Bradford', 'Redspire', and 'Whitehouse'.
The neat, dense upward growth of 'Bradford' — which made it desirable in cramped urban spaces — also results in a multitude of narrow, weak forks, unless corrected by selective pruning at an early stage. These weak crotches make the Bradford Pear very susceptible to storm damage where snowfall is heavy or when ice storms occur, or during the high winds of severe thunderstorms. Because of this, and the resulting relatively short life span (typically less than 25 years), many groups have discouraged further planting of 'Bradford' itself in favor of other, stronger Callery pear cultivars (such other as 'Cleveland Select'), as well as increased use of locally native ornamental tree species.
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
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