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Pear

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Pear
Europear.jpg
Scientific Classification
Species
  • P. calleryana (Callery pear)
  • P. communis (common pear)
  • P. pyrifolia (Chinese pear)
  • P. ussuriensis (Chinese pear)
Pears.jpg
Left to right: Yellow Bartlett, Red Bartlett, D'Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, and Seckel.

Pear trees are deciduous fruit trees that grow best in temperate regions. There are many different species, the major ones being calleryana, communis, pyrifolia, and ussuriensis.[1] The trees' small white fragrant flowers give birth to pome shaped fruit, usually a green or brown color. Each species has a variety of characteristics. P. pyrifolia has pears that have a shape and texture similar to apples that are commonly called Asian pears. P. communis grows green/yellow colored pears with a tan juicy flesh.

Pears are very healthy for the digestive system and other illnesses. You can even mash up the tree bark, mix it with water, and spread the paste over sprains to ease the pain. Many instruments are made out of the tree's wood because of its sturdiness and hardness, putting it in the "hardwood" category.

Anatomy

Anatomy of the common pear

The pear is a large fruit about 3 to 4 inches long, eaten and enjoyed by many. It is a pome, meaning it is produced by blossoms or flowering plants. Pears have a core where the seeds are and a fleshy inside. [2] The common pear has a green-yellow cone or spherical shape with a white or tan, juicy flesh. [3] Bradford or Callery pears have dark green, leathery-feeling leaves. The pears only get up to about .5 inches across and have a greenish-brown color. Chinese sand pears, from the species P. pyrifolia, have dark green leaves and hard brown and white-spotted fruit that only get up to be about 1.3 inches. These are crunchy and round like apples and can also called Asian pears or Chinese sand pears.[4]

Fruits are actually mature ovaries. The edible part is called the pericarp, which is the developed tissue of the ovary that surrounds the seeds. [5]

The tiny white flowers are about 1/2 inch long and form in small clusters of 5 to 8 blossoms. They may be present before the leaves develop and/or when they are already fully developed. They are made up of about 5 white leaves all overlapping each other. [6]

The leaves of the pear tree have an oval or egg shape with a small serrated outer edge. They can range from 1 to 4 inches in length and are typically a bright shiny green on the top and a duller green on the bottom.

The bark on the tree is typically a brownish/grayish color as it gets older, but can also have some red in it. It also has rough layered ridges and furrows. [7] Pyrus calleryana's trunks develop sideway lenticles. [8] The twigs grow up and out from the main tree trunk. They are not as rough as the trunk and have a shine to it. They can be kind of fuzzy with blossoms growing along it.

In Pyrus communis, the tree grows straight up with the branches growing sharply off of it, making the top wider than the bottom. [9] The tree

grows to be about 40 feet in length and 16 feet wide. In Pyrus calleryana, the tree has a teardrop shape and the bottom is wider than the top. [10]

Reproduction

Pear trees are mainly pollinated by bees and other insects, meaning they are entomophilous.[11] They can be cross-breeded with other species except for the Seckel and Bartletts. [12]

Pear trees are angiosperms which means that the seed is covered by an ovule (the pear). The purpose of the fruit is to protect the seed and provide nourishment.

The fruit is developed by the tree's flowers that are pollinated or fertilized. The pollen of the male flower (containing an anther) is carried to the female flower (containing a stigma) by wind, water, animals, or insects. Pear trees can self-pollinate (pollinate flowers on the same tree) or cross-pollinate (pollinate other tree's flowers). The ovum and pollen form into a zygote (fertilized egg) which turns into an embryo and then a seed. [13]

To plant your own tree, it is best to plant the seed when it is cold outside, such as late fall. It will start germinating throughout the winter, but will take several years to grow into a plant that can produce fruit. You can also pickup a small pear tree at a nearby plant store, in which case you'll need to find a deep hole in an open space that reveals plenty of sun. If possible, the soil should be mixed with compost. Spread out the roots, place it in the hole, then fill the hole all the way back up. It is wise to put stakes on the young tree so that it is not harmed by the blowing winds which can cause it to grow slanted or tear the roots. Watch it as it grows and remove any damaged or insect-bitten leaves and fruit. [14]

Ecology

Pear Blossoms

Common pear trees typically grow in Easten Europe and Western Europe, which is why they can also be called the European pear. They also grow in Turkey, the Middle East, [15] and the Pacific Northwest. About 84% of America's pear crop comes from Washington and Oregon. [16] Callery or Gradford pears are native to Korea and Japan. [17] The Ussurian Pear is native to Asia and is good for growing in colder climates. [18]


Pear trees grow best in open fields in reach of an abundance of sunshine. They are often seen in deciduous and sometimesconiferous forests. It should be in normal to hot temperatures with dry to moist soil. Pyrus ussuriensis pears can even grow in some sands or clays. It is very adaptable and can grow in both rural and urban areas and survive even with excessive dryness, wetness, or early frosts. The common pear can even grow up to 1300 meters above sea level. [19] Chinese sand pears tend to grow very rapidly, along with most other species. [20] All the species are deciduous, meaning they shed their leaves once every year and regrow them in the spring. Sometimes they are called hardwoods. Their usually green leaves turn to a red or orange color during the fall, right before they are shed. [21] They start blossoming in April or May and the fruit is ripe by late August to early September.[22]


Ussurian Pears are often affected by the caterpillars, insects, and fungi that grow on the tree. [23]

The tree's fruit is used as food both by humans and insects, who can convert it to honey. It's wood can be used to make various types of wooden instruments.[24]

Uses

Pears can be used for eating, either raw or cooked, even for medical purposes, as well as for the making of wooden furniture or instruments. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin-C, an antioxidant. They have a good amount of potassiumwithout coming with saturated fat and sodium. [25] A yellowish dye can even be extracted from the leaves.

They have a number of medicinal purposes, such as a sedative helping to calm, relax, or reduce anxiety or stress. It can also be used as an astringent, meaning that it constricts body tissues to help reduce the secretion of body fluids, such as blood or mucous. And it also has febrifuge properties, in that it can help reduce fever.[26] Its diuretic uses stimulate urine elimination which can help with illnesses like obesity, arterial hypertension, dropsy, kidney pain, renal calculations or inadequacy, and cystitis. Its external uses can help pain produced by twists, sprains, or bruises by mixing 25 grams of dry bark with a half liter of water and rubbing it on the affected area. It has been proven that pears can help lower blood pressure and steady the heart rate. [27]

The trees are often used as shelterbelts which help protect pieces of property or homes from snow, wind, soil erosion, and provide extra privacy. Because the wood is so tough and durable, it can also be used to make cabinets and instruments. [28] The Callery pear is a great tree to plant in residential areas because of its beautiful leaf color and seasonal patterns. It also has pretty flowers that give off a fragrant smell. [29]

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References

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