Pear Tree- Pyrus

The pear tree or shrub is native to coastal and mildly temperate parts of western Europe, north Africa and parts of Asia. It is generally an elegant medium-sized tree known for having a tall, narrow form. This makes some varieties of pear a great street tree and you may be surprised to know that there are hundreds of pear trees growing happily in the footpaths around Belfast including along the Newtownards Road.

Pyrus are deciduous trees with oval alternately arranged leaves and scented white flowers in spring, followed by green or brown fruits which are edible in some species. Pear trees usually grow to about 12 metres but some can reach up to 20 metres. The crown of the tree is domed and the branches can have spiny twigs. The bark is grey-brown and broken into small square shapes when mature.

Most of us know pears for their fruits and the recognisable ‘pear shape’ but pear fruits cannot always be distinguished by their shape. Some pears actually look very like apples, e.g. the nashi pear. The biggest clue is the grainy texture of the flesh of a pear which is sometimes called ‘grit’. Despite the ‘grit’ raw pear is actually 84% water, with very little protein or fat. So the pefect form of hydration after a park run or walk on the Greenway!

Where to find it?

Pears are growing across the Greenway including Avoniel Community Garden where the local gardeners are getting ready to pick their crop following months of care and watching the fruits develop on these ornamental trees. We planted the ‘Almond leaved’ Pear, Pyrus amygdaliformis in C.S. Lewis Square as part of our winter planting around the library and you can see its more delicate elongated leaves still while other trees have dropped theirs.

Photo by Laura Francis

Also keep a look out for the street trees along the Newtownards Road which are Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ or ‘Callery Pear’ They are in many ways the ideal street tree with their pollution resistant leaves which appear very early in spring, colour well in autumn and remain well into winter. Our streets also benefit from abundant clusters of white flowers which this pear produces in early spring.

Be Part of it…

Don't forget to send us your pictures form the Greenway and let us know if there are any plants growing there which you want to know more about!