Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Bradford Pear

A central feature of our backyard is a Pyrus calleryana, commonly known as a Callery Pear, its most widespread variety being the Bradford Pear: a pear tree, in other words. But what we understand when we hear a word like “pear” is not always what is meant by those INON the true situation (to use a Crosswordese phrase). The pears of the Bradford are tiny and brown; most small leaves would support several of the fruit. They become quite hard with time but are good food for birds.

The tree flowers white in Spring, is green in the summer, dark purplish in fall—with the dark, curled leaves clinging here and there well into winter and persistently littering the ground long after the latest raking. And I assure you that raking our yard is a chore.

The loveliness of the tree in Spring—and its equally colorful Autumnal accent—would make you believe that the Bradford is universally admired. It turns out that it has many detractors. I found our tree’s identity almost immediately because the web has many postings with titles like “A Mixed Blessing in the Landscape” and “I just Hate Bradford Pears.” They die young (20 years); their branches angle too steeply into the vertical (exposing them to storm damage), and they are invasive. So far we’ve not encountered any of the negatives and so, with sunshine for an hour or two still ahead, we’re just enjoying our latest inheritance while ignoring the dire warning of the world at large...

1 comment:

  1. Monique confirmed one of the even less pleasant characteristics of this pear tree; it exudes a highly unpleasant smell when in bloom... The only reason we have not noticed this, may be the fact that we've not spent too many hours in the yard yet due to prevalent weather conditions. But, we have enjoyed the sight of the tree in full bloom for the past few of days, yes. Spring has been a bit late in coming this year.

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