|Sand Pear - Pyrus pyrifolia|
Family Rosaceae - Roses & Fruit Trees. Also commonly called Chinese pear,
nashi pear, and Asian pear, among more than a dozen other colloquial names. 
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Sand pear is native to China, Laos and Viet Nam, and is cultivated elsewhere in Asia, naturalized in Japan.  It is listed present in 4 United States: Illinois, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. 
In China, they have been considered a popular and sacred fruit. Many popular sayings have come from them. In Korea, they are grown and consumed in great quantity. Many are exported to the U.S. and sold as gifts, touting the superior quality of pears grown on the peninsula versus those grown in Southern California. Imported pears tend to be quite large and very fragrant, and are carefully wrapped, allowing them to last several weeks or more in a cold, dry place. In the South Korean city of Naju, there is a museum called The Naju Pear Museum and Pear Orchard for Tourists.
Because of their relatively high price and the large size of the fruit of cultivars, the pears tend to be served to guests or given as gifts, or eaten together in a family setting. In cooking, ground pears are used in vinegar or soy sauce-based sauces as a sweetener, instead of sugar. They are also used when marinating meat, especially beef. In Taiwan, nashi pears harvested in Japan given as luxurious presents. In Australia, nashi have been produced commercially for more than 25 years.
Sand Pear summer 
Same tree in autumn, with fruit
Over 1,000 cultivars of common pear, P. communis, are known, and it is itself believed to be a hybrid originating in western Asia over 2,000 years ago. Common pear is naturalized throughout Europe and has been grown for its fruit for centuries. Many named cultivars were raised at Versailles, France, during the 17th century. 
Pear has fine-grained wood pink to yellow in tone. It is prized for woodwind instruments and its veneer is used for fine furniture. Pear has one of the finest of textures of the fruitwoods, and was often used in making instruments such as lutes, recorders and - because of its hardness - the jacks of harpsichords.
Sand pear blossoms
1. Sand Pear Morton Arboretum accession 36-2000-2, photos by Bruce Marlin
2. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, "Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. f.) Nakai"
3. USDA NRCS Plants Profile, Pyrus pyrifolia
4. John White and David F. More, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees, 2nd ed. Timber Press 2005
Family Rosaceae - Roses & Fruit Trees
The family name is derived from the type genus Rosa. Containing Hawthorns, Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums, Peach, Almond, Mountain-Ash and Whitebeam. Rosaceae is a large family of plants with about 3,000 species in ~100 genera. Fruit trees provide some of our most oustanding flowering ornamentals and provide food for wildlife and humans.
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