Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’

Thank you to shotaku@Flickr of Missouri, USA for sharing today’s photograph (via Flickr BPotD Pool | original image). Appreciated, as always!

Not all horticultural success stories turn out well in the end. Voted by the US National Landscape Association in 1982 as the second-most popular tree in the USA, ‘Bradford’ pear has fallen into disrepute. It has prompted such article titles as, “The Pros & Cons of Bradford Pears“, “ Who Let the Pears Out?“, and perhaps most ominously, “The Coming Plague of Pears” (thanks to Michael F for suggesting the latter two links on the UBC forums recently). Long story short: near-ideal street-tree planting due to disease resistance, lack of fruit production, fast-growth and adaptability turns out to have a weak growth structure for resisting ice and wind as well as fruit production when other related cultivars are introduced and cross-pollination can take place. The latter quality, combined with its adaptibility, is now revealing the invasive potential of the plant. It is now recommended in some areas to avoid planting new trees, as well as removing established ones.

Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'

12 responses to “Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’”

  1. Ginny (in Maine)

    Wow, a stunning close-up of a plant I never had much interest in…reminding me again to look closely. Thanks to you both, Daniel and photographer.

  2. Mike Bone

    Another downfall is the horrible smell, somewhat reminscent of feline sprays. I have always preferred the Apricot as a substitute.

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    i will post my first thoughts
    oh for goodness sake what now

  4. J

    Decent looking tree when in bloom, but a definite no-no for planting here in the northeast. A Pear split & destroyed a Jeep behind my office a couple of years ago. Within a week, all of the Pears were removed from the parking lot & replaced with Acer Rubrum.

  5. Beverley

    Pyrus, py-rus; classical name for a Pear tree. Plant Names Simplified, Johnson and Smith
    calleryana ka-le-ree-ah-na. After J. Callery, a French missionary who collected the type specimen. Dictionary of Plant Names, Coombes

  6. Michael F

    “Another downfall is the horrible smell, somewhat reminscent of feline sprays”
    Also compared to a mixture of vomit and rotten fish.

  7. tafster

    Troublesome, yes. But when in full bloom in the South, it is a sight indeed to see lining the freeways and streets. Eventually it will all be taken out and replaced, as have other “wonder” plants in the past. Still, I look forward to it each spring.

  8. Adriel

    A more botanical/morphological question.
    I see the black/brown structures and then the pinkish structures curling inwards.
    Are these two kinds of anthers?
    If so, why?

  9. Carol B

    I grew ours from a stem cutting sent to me by the National Arbor Foundation……. so does that mean it is free of the thorny parts? And if it will grow so well from a stem cutting, why the grafting in the first place?

  10. Monique Reed

    The two different colors of anthers represent two different stages of development–they don’t mature all at once.
    Here in TX, this tree provides reliable fall color, but it’s short-lived, stinky, and over-used.

  11. Jenn

    I have been researching P. calleryana for a little over 6 months now and this is the most beautiful picture of a Bradford flower I have seen, Thank you!

  12. Mark S.

    I manage a retail nursery in S.W. Ohio. After hurricane Ike in Sept.’08 split and destroyed hundreds of ‘Bradfords’ we can’t give them away. Other cultivars are beautiful and stronger.

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