Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Asian Pear Varieties... just a sampling

I recently wrote an article about Asian Pears. Being that I am just barely familiar with this tree, other than an occasional taste of unknown varieties, I thought I would find some information about a few of the varieties that are out there. Included in this list of 25 are the most common, popular, flavorful varieties as well as a few traditional ones and brand new ones. I tried to list them in roughly the order that they ripen. 

As always, this website is about me gathering information so that I can go back and reference it as I need. There are some areas of missing information that I just couldn't find in a reasonable amount of time. If you have a link to a site that provides any of the missing information in my listings, please feel free to post a comment. So without further ado...


1. Ichiban Nashi ("First Pear")
  • Season: Early. Ripening ahead of 'Shinseiki', 'Shinsui', and 'Kosui.'
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Light gold to brown. Russet.
  • Taste: Sweet
  • Storage: keeps poorly
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: 


2. Shinsui ("New Juice")
  • Season: Early (after 'Ichiban Nashi' and before 'Shinseiki')
  • Size: Medium
  • Shape: Round with a little flattening
  • Color: Orange-yellow-brown, russet. Mild grit. Off-white flesh.
  • Taste: Outstanding flavor, very sweet, crisp, very juicy.
  • Storage: Delicate. Bruises easily. Stores for up to a month.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: Moderately susceptible to fire blight.
  • Notes: Precocious and very productive


3. Kosui ("Juice of Good Fortune")
Cross of Kikusui ("floating chrysanthemum") x Wase-Kozo. Japanese selection introduced in 1959.
  • Season: Early
  • Size: Medium to Small
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Light green to yellow-golden-bronze. Russet. White flesh.
  • Taste: Very sweet, slightly tart, juicy, tender, crisp. 
  • Storage: Excellent. Up to 5 months.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: Resistant to Alternaria black-spot and moderately resistant to pear scab. Leaves sensitive to 2-spot spider mites. Very susceptible to fire blight.
  • Notes: A strong-growing tree with leaves sensitive many sprays.


4. Shinseiki ("New Century")
Cross of Nijisseki ("20th Century") x Chojuro ("Plentiful"). Japanese selection introduced in 1945.
  • Season: Early
  • Size: Medium
  • Shape: Globular, lop-sided
  • Color: Green to yellow-green to bright yellow, smooth. White flesh.
  • Taste: Sweet, slightly tart, firm to rock hard, crunchy, course, juicy
  • Storage: Excellent, 3-5 months
  • Fertility: Self-Fertile, but more productive with another pollenizer
  • Pests/Disease: Fire blight susceptible, but some have moderate resistance
  • Notes: Fruit hangs on the tree well.


5. Hosui ("Abundant Juice")
Cross of (Kikusui x Yakumo) x Yakumo. Japanese selection introduced in 1972. Touted as the best flavored Asian Pear.
  • Season: Early-Mid
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: Round-globular
  • Color: Yellow-gold-brown, heavily russeted
  • Taste: Tender, sweet, brandy aroma, low-acid, juicy. Overripe specimens develop a rummy taste. 
  • Storage: Good. 4-8 weeks.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: Good resistance to pear scab disease. Susceptible to fire blight and bacterial canker.
  • Notes: The tree is vigorous, willowy and spreading. Loose growth habit.

6. Chojuro ("Plentiful")
Chance seedling of Pyrus pyrifolia. Japanese selection introduced in 1895.
  • Season: Early-Mid
  • Size: Medium-Large
  • Shape: Round-flattish
  • Color: Brown-orange. Russet. White flesh.
  • Taste: Slightly aromatic, butterscotch flavor. Flavor improves with storage. Not as juicy as newer varieties. Moderately gritty in some seasons.
  • Storage: Excellent. Stores for up to 5 months, but bruises easily.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: Moderately susceptible to
    fire blight; apparently resistant to pear scab and Alternaria black spot.
  • Notes: Tree is precocious and productive. It must be picked when first yellow-brown in color or fruit is subject to severe bruising and skin discoloration.


7. Seigyoku ("Sapphire")
Hybrid of Nijisseki ("20th Century") x Chojuro ("Plentiful")
  • Season: Early-Mid
  • Size: 
  • Shape: Round
  • Color:  Light green to yellow, smooth.
  • Taste: Average quality
  • Storage: 
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: 


8. Nijisseki ("20th Century"), aka Nijusseiki
Japanese selection introduced in 1898. Considered the standard for flavor.
  • Season: Mid
  • Size: Small
  • Shape: Uniform, round-globular, lop-sided
  • Color: Pale yellow-green. White flesh.
  • Taste: Sweet, slightly tart, firm, very juicy, crisp, very little grittiness. Mildly aromatic.
  • Storage: Excellent, 3-6 months, but bruises easily
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: Quite susceptible to pear scab and fire blight.
  • Notes: Semi-spur habit, vigorous. It should not be grown on P. communis rootstock because it is severely dwarfed. The fruit ripens in mid-August. It grows well on P. betulaefolia, P. calleryana, and P. serotina. Old trees need spur removal and rejuvenating pruning to maintain fruit size. The tree is naturally well shaped and easy to handle.


9. Yoinashi
  • Season: Mid. Ripens with Nijiesiki ("20th Century")
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: Brown
  • Color: 
  • Taste: Considered excellent
  • Storage: 
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: 


10. Tse Li (aka Tsu Li)
Complex hybrid of Pyrus ussuriensis x (P. x bretschneideri).
  • Season: Mid
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: Football-shaped or Pear-shaped
  • Color: Green
  • Taste: Not edible right off the tree. Taste is better with more storage time. Very sweet, aromatic, almost no acid
  • Storage: Amazing. 6-10 months. 
  • Fertility: Ya Li is appropriate pollenizer. 
  • Pests/Disease: Some fire blight tolerance. Seems to be damaged less by insects than Japanese varieties.
  • Notes: Blooms very early, so is especially susceptible to late spring frosts. 'Tsu Li' in California and 'Tsu Li' in China are not the same cultivar.


11. Yoinashi ("Good Pear")
New variety.
  • Season: Mid
  • Size: Large to medium
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Golden-brown-buff. Off-white flesh.
  • Taste:  Good flavor. Tender, crisp, juicy. 
  • Storage: Good. Up to 3 months.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: Trees appear to resist bacterial canker but are very susceptible to fire blight.
  • Notes: 



12. Shinko ("New Success")
Seedling of Nijisseki ("20th Century"). Japanese selection introduced in 1941.
  • Season: Mid-Late
  • Size: Medium to Large
  • Shape: Round to slightly flat
  • Color: Gold-bronze. Russet.
  • Taste: Distinctive rich, sweet, nutty flavor, juicy, crisp, firm.
  • Storage: Good. Up to 2 months, but may make it to 4 months
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: Nearly to completely resistant to fire blight
  • Notes: Fine winter keeper. Very productive.

13. Daisui Li
New University of California hybrid
  • Season: Mid-Late
  • Size: Very large
  • Shape: Round and slightly flattened
  • Color: Greenish to yellow. Very white flesh.
  • Taste: Sweet with a bit of tartness, crisp, slightly coarse. 
  • Storage: Excellent. 3-6 months.
  • Fertility: Pollinated by 'Shin Li'
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: Trees are extremely vigorous

14. Shin Li
New University of California hybrid. Hybrid between Japanese variety Kikusui and Tse Li. Introduced in 1988.
  • Season: Mid to Late
  • Size: Very large
  • Shape: Round and slightly flattened
  • Color: Yellowish to light green. Russet
  • Taste: Sweet and spicy, cinnamon aroma.
  • Storage: Excellent. 3-4 months.
  • Fertility: Pollinated by 'Dasui Li'
  • Pests/Disease: Conflicting reports about susceptibility/resistance to fire blight.
  • Notes: Trees are extremely vigorous


15. Olympic (aka Korean Giant, Large Korean, Dan Beh)
  • Season: Mid-Late?
  • Size: Very large
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Orange-bronze. Russet. White flesh.
  • Taste: Sweet with earthy flavor, crisp, juicy. 
  • Storage: Excellent. Up to 5 months.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: Excellent tolerance to fire blight. 
  • Notes: One of the more cold-hardy Pyrus pyrifolia.


16. Kikusui ("Floating Chrysanthemum")
The floating chrysanthemum is the crest of the Japanese royal family.
  • Season: Mid to Late
  • Size: Medium
  • Shape: Roundish-flat
  • Color: Yellow-green, dull
  • Taste: Similar to Nijiesiki ("20th Century"), sweet, slightly tart, firm, very juicy, crisp, gritty/coarse. Mildly aromatic.
  • Storage: Tender skin
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: Mother of many new varieties. Fruit has preharvest drop problems. Tree has average vigor.


17. Ya Li ("Duck Pear")
A variety of Pyrus ussuriensis. An old Chinese variety of very good quality, it is the most important pear cultivar in China.
  • Season: Late. Ripening a month after Nijiesiki ("20th Century")
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: Pear-shaped with long stem
  • Color: Green to yellow-green, smooth, slightly waxy. White flesh.
  • Taste: Sweet-tart, mild, crisp. 
  • Storage: Excellent. Tender. Up to 5 months.
  • Fertility: Requires cross-pollination by other early flowering cultivars such as 'Tsu Li' and 'Seuri'.
  • Pests/Disease: Somewhat tolerant of fire blight (probably because of early bloom time). 
  • Notes: Vigorous grower. Hardy. Trees are very productive and vigorous on all pear rootstocks. Blooms very early, so frost susceptible; 4 or 5 days earlier than Japanese varieties. This cultivar is slower to come into production than most Japanese cultivars.


18. Niitaka ("New Quantity")
  • Season: Late
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: Round, oblong
  • Color: Yellow-orange-brown, Russet.
  • Taste: Bland, average flavor, firm, coarse.
  • Storage: Good. Up to 2 months.
  • Fertility: The flowers are pollen-sterile but it sets well when cross-pollinated with most varieties.
  • Pests/Disease: Fire blight susceptible.
  • Notes: High production.


19. Arirang ("Sweet Pear")
Korean variety.
  • Season: Late
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Orange-brown
  • Taste: Very sweet and juicy, crisp, firm
  • Storage: Excellent. Up to 6 months.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: 

20. Atago
  • Season: Late
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Brown-orange. Russet.
  • Taste: Sweet, slightly tart, crisp
  • Storage: Good. Up to 4 months.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: Trees are upright, spreading and
    medium in vigor. 


21. Seuri (in Chinese, it may be Se Li "Red Pear")
  • Season: Late
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: Round
  • Color: Dark orange to yellow. Russet. Yellow to white flesh. 
  • Taste: Sweet, rich, crisp, hints of apricot. Fruit flavor is excellent, especially in hot climates.
  • Storage: Good. 1-3 months.
  • Fertility: Should be pollinated by 'Ya Li', another early bloomer.
  • Pests/Disease: Conflicting reports about susceptibility/resistance to fire blight
  • Notes: Delicious but unattractive. Trees used as pollinizers. It is a low-chill, early blooming variety.



22. Okusankichi ("Madame Luck")
Traditional Japanese variety from mid-19th century.
  • Season: Very Late
  • Size: 
  • Shape: Oval or turban-shaped.
  • Color: Brown. Russet.
  • Taste: Sweet-tart, very firm, crisp, slightly coarse. Flavor improves with storage.
  • Storage: Good.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: 


23. Sweet 'N' Sour
Developed by Virginia Gold Orchard
  • Season:
  • Size: 
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Green to yellow. Smooth. White flesh.
  • Taste: Sweet, very juicy, firm, crisp.
  • Storage: Good. Up to 4 months.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: 

24. Sunburst
Developed by Virginia Gold Orchard
  • Season:
  • Size: Large
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Yellow skin with "splash of russet" around the stem. White flesh.
  • Taste: Unique with a hint of ginger, very sweet, very juicy, tender, crisp.
  • Storage: Excellent. Up to 6 months.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: 

25. Autumn Sweet
Developed by Virginia Gold Orchard
  • Season:
  • Size: Medium to large
  • Shape: 
  • Color: Golden-orange. Russet. Slightly roughened skin.
  • Taste: Very sweet and juicy.
  • Storage: Fair. Up to 1 month.
  • Fertility: 
  • Pests/Disease: 
  • Notes: 



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