Can You Grow The Pineapple Flower Plant In Zone 6 History Of The Pear

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History Of The Pear

There is convincing archaeological evidence from the excavations of the ancient lake dwellers in Switzerland that the European pear, Pyrus communis L., was known to that civilization. It is assumed that the pear was already known to prehistoric man, but there is no consensus as to whether the first apple or pear was the first. The ancient European pear was significantly different from the Asian pear Prunus pyrifolia.

English records indicate that in 1629 the “Massachusetts Company to New England” sent pear pits to colonists to plant and grow into trees in Plymouth, MA.

On March 30, 1763, the famous American George Mason wrote in his voluminous horticultural diary: “grafted 10 black Worchester pears from Coll … these are large (rough) baking fruits” and old French varieties of pears. .

Fort Frederica on Saint Simons Island, Georgia was established by English colonists in 1733, and the city of Savannah was settled at the same time. In order to provide the settlers with self-sufficient food supplies, General Oglethorpe developed a plan to introduce trees and plants for cultivation in temperate and subtropical climates that would prove valuable for Georgia’s future farms and fruit and nut orchards. These destinations were reported by William Bartram in his book Travels, published in 1773, 40 years later. John Bartram, father and companion of William Bartram, embarked on an exploratory voyage to eastern Florida, the Carolinas, and Georgia, in part to explore the resources and plant supplies that the Spanish had ceded to the English as colonial possessions.

The Prince Arboretum was founded as America’s first nursery to collect, grow and sell plants and trees in Flushing, New York in 1737. In 1771, the Prince Arboretum advertised “42 pears for sale.”

John Bartram planted a pear seed in 1793 and this ancient tree grew and bore fruit until 1933.

The great American botanical crossbreeder and writer of his epic and monumental 12-volume account of his observations of long-term plant development, Luther Burbank, stated that there were essentially two genetic lines of pears that he and others used to improve the commercial quality of pears and their fertility. European pear, Pyrus communis L., Asian pear, Pyrus pyrifolia, also called Korean pear, Japanese pear, Chinese pear and Taiwan pear. These were crossed with each other to get gene recombination to produce complex mixtures of characters that would hopefully produce superior fruit.

In his ‘Fruit Improvement’, Bartram wrote about a pear hybrid that appeared on a farm near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the result of a European pear and a Chinese sand pear planted on the farm as ornamental garden trees. This hybrid was created on the farm of Mr. Peter Kieffer and thus bears his name after the first hybridized oriental pear. “Kieffer” pear has a pleasant aroma; is a beautiful and graceful tree with huge white flowers, but this pear is best when cooked in preserves or pies because of its firmness. Cold hardiness and disease resistance make this pear a prized variety that remains the best-selling pear today.

Other Oriental pears that entered popular nursery mail-order catalogs were Le Conte, Garber, and Smith pears. These pears have become standard varieties for planting in Gulf State gardens where European pears do not grow well.

Other varieties of pears developed in California have been described as of enormous size, delicate color, fragrance, and excellent quality. One of these hybrid pears measured nine inches high and weighed five pounds—a single fruit.

Burbank pointed out that the commercial pear trade frowns upon large pears because of crate, sorting and shipping problems, and the average pear buyer often does not prioritize oversized pears. The northwestern United States produces the most commercial pears, generally because of the exceptional dessert quality of the fruit. The oldest market sensation of pears is Bartlett (Williams), which grows in a group called “winter pears”, including other varieties. Comice, D’Anjou, Bosc, Red D’Anjou and Concorde pears. These cultivars have a very limited range of successful growth due to their fragile European pear origin, Pyrus communis, and are not recommended for cultivation in most regions of the United States.

The pear is unique as a non-shrinking fruit in that it is easily identified by the common description of the fruit’s shape, “pear-shaped”, a specific shape that everyone understands. Pear buyers are very partial to buying pears in the shape they are used to, and will often reject the Asian pear Pyrus pyrifolia, a round or apple-shaped fruit. The structure of pears is unique among fruits, along with aroma, flavor and the idea that pears (European clones) must be picked from the tree to ripen later; while Asian pears are better left on the trees to ripen for full flavor development.

The skin of pears is a wide range of colors, green, yellow, orange, red and mottled, which is an excellent protective shield against the eyes of birds and other animals. Pears take longer periods of maturity to begin bearing than most other fruit trees, but the tree will bear earlier if grafted onto a dwarf quince rootstock; however, most tree dealers offer semi-dwarf trees for sale, and of course larger trees begin bearing earlier than small trees. Asian pears bear fruit earlier than those trees with European pears. One factor that has held back the spread of pears since ancient times is the fact that seeds do not germinate well unless moist, and most travelers on the ancient “Silk Road” trade routes dried the seeds for sale or exchange.

Fruit buyers in America have shown a dramatic and increased interest in buying fresh pears in stores over the past 25 years. USDA sources indicate that per capita consumption of fresh table pears has increased more than most fruits, while purchases of fresh peaches have decreased. Fresh pears can be stored at near-freezing temperatures for up to 5 months for later purchase. For backyard gardeners, pears can grow 20-30 feet in semi-dwarf soil and are well adapted to growing in most soils, even poorly drained soils, preferably at a pH of 6 to 7. Pears will grow and tolerate temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Burbank has done a lot of weird crossbreeding with pears. He crossed pears with apples and quince; however, these hybrid trees did not grow to produce acceptable fruit.

Pears contain antioxidants and are fat-free, with health benefits from vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, niacin, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium.

Many varieties of pears are recommended for planting. Ayers Pear, Baldwin Pear, Columbus Red Pear, Floridahome Pear, Hood Pear, Kieffer Pear, Leconte Pear, Moonglow Pear, Orient Pear, Pineapple Pear, Sand Pear and Warren Pear. Four varieties of Asian pears are also planted: Korean giant pear, Hosui pear, Shinseiki pear and twentieth century pear.

There are also four varieties of flowering, awkward pears. Bradford Flowering Pear, Cleveland Flowering Pear, Aristocrat Flowering Pear and Autumn Blaze Flowering Pear.

Copyright 2006 Patrick Malcolm

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