Callery Pear – Pyrus calleryana var. dimorphophylla

Callery Pear
Pyrus calleryana
var. dimorphophylla
Also called Bradford pear, this plant is considered invasive in areas of North America [3, 4].

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Callery Pear at Morton Arboretum
Callery Pear at Morton Arboretum, from graft, is 23 years old
Callery or Bradford pear is a medium-sized ornamental rapidly growing 30-50 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It takes on an upright, pyramidal form when young, becoming more oval and spreading with age. It grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Likes moist and well-drained soil but is easily adapted to various stressors, including acidic and alkaline Ph, restricted growth space, pollution, drought, and pruning.

Callery Pear is considered a harmful invasive in many areas. It forms dense, often thorny thickets that prevent colonization by native species.

Native to China, Japan, and much of western Asia, it was first brought to North America by the Arnold Arboretum in Massachusetts in 1908 [4]. Widely used in ornamental landscape plantings, it was rapidly propagated across the United States. The fruit industry also used Callery Pear as root stock for commercial pears, as pollen donors in orchards, and in programs breeding pears for fire blight resistance.

 Callery pear has a reputation for poor branching habits, leaving itself vulnerable to major windthrow or ice-load damage. Near vertical, co-dominant central leaders with acute crotch angles and extremely weak attachments must be thinned on a regular basis to ameliorate this liability. Branches remaining after this recommended biannual pruning will be stronger and resist storm damage more readily than those in an unattended, overgrown tree. [2]

Callery Pear foliage and fruit

Flowers in spring are showy, white, to 3 inches inflorescences, mid to late April for about 1 week. Foliage is green to dark green, glossy, alternate, ovate to orbicular, fluttering. Fall color is variable and generally not showy, ranging from purple, orange, yellow to red. Color does not develop until late season, November and December.

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. [1]

Callery Pear Bark

Callery Pear in full bloom
Morton Arboretum callery pear, from a graft, is 85 years old and one of Joy Morton's the original plantings in 1924.


  1. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.  (GRIN), Pyrus calleryana Decne.
  2. Horticultural and Crop Science, Ohio State University, Pyrus calleryana
  3. Pronunciation of Pyrus calleryana from University of Connecticut Plant Database
  4. Kaufman, Sylvan Ramsey, and Wallace Kaufman. Invasive Plants: A Guide to Identification, Impacts, and Control of Common North American Species. 1st ed. Stackpole Books, 2007.
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Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees
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. Crabapple and other fruit trees provide some of our most outstanding flowering ornamentals. Tree Encyclopedia | Tree Index | Rosaceae Index