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Pyrus calleryana is often confused with:
Malus hybrids Malus hybrid
Photinia serratifolia Photinia serratifolia
Prunus 'Kanzan' Form in bloom
Prunus mume Prunus mume
Prunus x yedoensis Prunus x yedoensis
Native alternative(s) for Pyrus calleryana:
Amelanchier arborea var. arborea Amelanchier arborea var. arborea
Cornus florida Cornus florida
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus acutissima Tree
Koelreuteria paniculata Koelreuteria paniculata
Ulmus alata Ulmus alata
Pyrus calleryana has some common disease problems:
Fire Blight

Pyrus calleryana

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
PY-russ kal-lee-ree-AH-nah
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Bradford Pear is a dense, broadly pyramidal deciduous tree that grows up to 43'. It is a very common landscape plant, used frequently because of its rapid growth rate and tolerance to a variety of urban conditions, including drought, air pollution, and heat. It is also soil adaptable, but should be planted in full sun for blooms although it tolerates part shade. Additionally, it transplants easily and it is one of the first trees to bloom with white flowers, blooming profusely in the spring and covering the entire tree in white blooms. However, its branches grow at upright angles with weak crotches that break with age.  It is also considered an invasive species in the southeast. In the fall, this tree gives off colorful variable foliage but is one of the first trees to leaf out. Fruit is non-ornamental and hidden by the foliage.

Flowers at peak smell like a decaying animal and many persons encountering this odor will wrinkle their nose, pinch it, and begin to look around on the ground. This plant is used as a temporary specimen tree (10-20 years) in residential sites, commercial sites, school grounds, and malls. In malls at peak, customers have been observed getting out of their cars, reacting to the odor, getting back in their cars, and driving off.

The cultivar 'Bradford' has strongly ascending branches, and is narrower than typical selections of callery pear. It also develops tight crotches that are likely to be split in half by heavy wind and rain storms. Leaves are suborbicular as L/W ratio is nearly 1. Typical memebers of callery pears have more spreading branches and some leaves with L/W ratios near 2. 'Bradford' is regarded as relatively pest and disease free, whereas species is very susceptible to fireblight. A study was reported of an experiment on the NC State University campus, where 6 'Bradford' trees were inoculated with the organism that causes fireblight. Each tree developed fireblight, thus the conclusion was that 'Bradford' was not resistant. However, all 6 trees existing on the campus at that time were misidentified callery pears, not a 'Bradford' cultivar. 

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Limb breakage is common due to poor crotch angles and it is often a very short-lived tree.  This is a weedy to invasive species, that can spread fireblight to other Rosaceous crops, so consider planting a different tree.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Scalloped leaves are dark green, shiny, leathery, and ovate
  • White foetid flowers on pins in very early spring
  • Deciduous tree is dense and narrow pyramidal
  • Leaves appear very early after blooms and are suborbicular
  • Buds are elongate, wooly, and gray-pubescent

 

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Jeana Myers, Horticulture Extension Agent for NC State Extension

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aristocrat'
    stronger crotches but is fire blight susceptible
  • 'Autumn Blaze'
    more narrow form
  • 'Bradford'
    most fire blight resistant
  • 'Capital'
    more narrow form
  • 'Chanticleer'
  • 'Invasive'
  • 'Redspire'
    more narrow form
  • 'Whitehouse'
    more narrow form
'Aristocrat', 'Autumn Blaze', 'Bradford', 'Capital', 'Chanticleer', 'Invasive', 'Redspire', 'Whitehouse'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#fall color#invasive#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#pyramidal#weedy#flowering tree#air pollution tolerant#deer resistant#weak wood#fantz#problem tree#short lifespan#poor soils tolerant#malodorus
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aristocrat'
    stronger crotches but is fire blight susceptible
  • 'Autumn Blaze'
    more narrow form
  • 'Bradford'
    most fire blight resistant
  • 'Capital'
    more narrow form
  • 'Chanticleer'
  • 'Invasive'
  • 'Redspire'
    more narrow form
  • 'Whitehouse'
    more narrow form
'Aristocrat', 'Autumn Blaze', 'Bradford', 'Capital', 'Chanticleer', 'Invasive', 'Redspire', 'Whitehouse'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#fall color#invasive#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#pyramidal#weedy#flowering tree#air pollution tolerant#deer resistant#weak wood#fantz#problem tree#short lifespan#poor soils tolerant#malodorus
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pyrus
    Species:
    calleryana
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China and Taiwan
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This tree is mildly resistant to damage by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 43 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small, inedible russet colored orbicular pomes (1/2" in diameter) which are of little practical value or ornamental use and have a brown pit.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers have 5 petals, are white, showy, foetid, and less than an inch in size. Inflorescence is corymbose, 2", and borne on spurs.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate, acuminate, glossy, rotund to broad cuneate or subcordate or truncate, crenate, dark green and glabrous, and coriaceous. Leaves have a red to maroon fall coloration. The crenate margins are rounded to an acute base.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Ridged and furrowed becoming blocky with age often has tight croches that cause problems.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Flowers buds are large, ovoid, elongate, bluntly acute, have wooly grayish-brown scales, are terminal, and hairy. Twigs are stout, initially white pubescent and mature to a smooth, shiny brown.
  • Landscape:
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Compaction
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Pollution
    Poor Soil
    Urban Conditions
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Malodorous
    Short-lived
    Weedy