The Wild Pear is regarded as more probably a
species originally introduced by man, and has
maintained its hold upon the new land. Upon this
assumption it is probable that the introduced
specimens were already somewhat cultivated, but
when they became wild they reverted to the original
condition of the species.
It is a small tree, from twenty to sixty feet
in height, of somewhat pyramidal form. The twigs,
which are usually of a drooping tendency, are
also much given to ending in spines.
The leaves are toothed, oval in shape, with blunt-toothed
edges, and downy on the lower surface. Along the
new shoots they are arranged alternately on opposite
sides, but on shoots a year old they are produced
The flowers, about an inch across, are white and
clustered in corymbs of five to twelve. They appear
in April and May, and are of the Wild Rose type.
There are numerous stamens, three to five styles,
which ripen before the stamens, five petals, and
the calyx with a five-lobed mouth, representing
the five sepals.
When the flower opens it is ready for fertilization,
but as the stamens of that flower are not yet
mature this can only be accomplished by pollen
brought by the bees from other flowers. The effect
of pollination is to cause special vegetative
activity in the neighbourhood of the ovary, resulting
in the thickening of the flesh of the calyx-tube
around it, until it has become the characteristic
pear-shape, an inch or two in length.
The fruit is green until about November, when
it turns yellow. It is too harsh a character to
be fit for eating.
The Pear is a long-lived tree, growing singly
or in small groups on dry plains. It attains a
height of about fifty feet in thirty years, and
its girth may then be three or four feet. The
timber is fine-grained, strong, and heavy, with
a reddish tinge.