Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Today's Favorite Plant - 20th Century Pear

My special plant of the day is Pyrus pyrifolia (20th Century Pear aka Nijisseiki 二十世紀) .

I'm generally not a fan of fruit trees, but this Asian pear tree was an impulse buy at a big box store in 2007. 

When I bought it, it was a funny little stick wrapped in a plastic bag in a bin for $10.

Because the label called it "ultra-dwarf", I thought it would be an adorable tiny little tree. Boy was I wrong! 

Apparently I didn't read that the mature size is still 15-40' tall and 10-20' wide. But in the past 12 years, I've done my best to keep it on the "smaller" side, carefully pruning off new growth here and there. I've managed to keep the tree around 9' tall.

The fruit of this Asian pear combines the flavor and sweetness of a pear with the crispness and quality of an apple and are best when tree ripened, usually the end of August. They are crisp, a bit watery and sweet with white flesh and a thin tan skin.

My fruit harvest is about a dozen pears on the tree each year but if I am not on top of it when they ripen, the raccoons/opossums will take all of them. 

In 2018, I got one pear that wasn't half eaten or full of tooth marks. It was just enough though to make it worthwhile.