Callery Pear

Callery Pear Tree

Common name Callery Pear
Botanical Name Pyrus calleryana / Pyrus ussuriensis
Family Rosaceae
Natural range Asia and gardens in Toorak
Mature height 4-8m
Form Dense, rounded tree
Likes Developing spiky suckers at base
Dislikes High winds due to poor branch structure
Where to plant Streets & Backyards
Known for Spring flowers

What’s the Story Behind the Callery Pear Tree?

In the realm of residential landscapes, a particular tree known as the Callery Pear tree or Pyrus calleryana has been the centerpiece for numerous gardens, especially for affluent homeowners in Melbourne and Sydney back in the ’90s. This favored tree for formal European gardens was widely popularized by Paul Bangay, a renowned landscaper.

What Makes the Callery Pear a Favourite?

The Callery Pear tree, in its glory, presents a beautiful spectacle of spring flowers, summer’s glossy foliage that transitions to yellow and orange in autumn. It thrives in a variety of conditions, which partially explains its continued popularity even as preferences evolve towards more native species.

Do the Flowers of the Callery Pear Smell?

However, not everything that glitters is gold. Despite their visual charm, the flowers of the Callery Pear tree are often described as having an unpleasant, pungent scent. Some people compare the odor to something fishy or sickly, which can overshadow their beauty.

Is the Callery Pear a High-Maintenance Tree?

As these trees age and grow, they can transform into broad-spreading giants, needing regular pruning to keep their appearance and health in check. The weak branch unions pose another challenge, as they are prone to snapping off in winter storms. Thus, maintenance is key with Callery Pear trees.

Which Species of Callery Pear Trees are Popular in Australia?

In Australia, the Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana) and the Manchurian Pear (Pyrus ussuriensis) are commonly encountered species. Some other popular hybrids like ‘Capital’ and ‘Chanticleer’ are allegedly known to develop a more upright, less spreading form. These are non-fruiting varieties, producing tiny inedible ‘fruit balls.’

Can Callery Pear Trees Be Cross-Pollinated?

Interestingly, despite being cultivars generally infertile, these pear varieties can be cross-pollinated by insects. This has led to instances in the USA where some ‘Ornamental’ Pears randomly produce fruit, or worse, yield fertile seeds that can sprout and become invasive, outcompeting many native plants and trees.

Fun Facts About the Callery Pear:
  1. Callery Pear was a popular choice for formal European gardens in Melbourne and Sydney in the ’90s.
  2. The tree is known for its beautiful change in foliage color across the seasons.
  3. Despite their visual charm, the flowers can have an unpleasant smell.
  4. Regular pruning is needed to maintain the health and appearance of these trees.
  5. Despite being cultivars, they can be cross-pollinated by insects leading to unexpected fruit production.
Links for Further Reading:
  1. Cross-Pollination in Pear Trees
  2. Why Are Bradford Pears a Problem?
  3. Alternatives to the Invasive Callery Pear Tree
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