How to Identify Ornamental Pear Fruit Trees

Updated February 21, 2017

Ornamental pear trees (Pyrus calleryana), also known as Callery pears, are a group of fruiting trees in the rose (Rosaceae) family. They are grown for their ornamental features rather than fruit production. In fact, the fruit on ornamental pear trees are not edible. Ornamental pear trees grow fast, up to 15 feet in 10 years, and live only about 15 to 25 years. The most common cultivars are the Bradford and Capital varieties.

Look at the tree's size and shape. Ornamental pear trees are shade trees, usually with a nice rounded shape. They are taller than they are wide. Bradford pear trees, for example, grow 30 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide.

Observe its flowers. Ornamental pear trees bloom white flowers in the spring, usually even before the leaves begin to form. The five-petaled flowers grow in clusters and lack a good fragrance. The flowers are about ¾-inch wide and only bloom for a couple of weeks.

Examine the fruit. They are small, up to ½-inch in diameter, rounded fruits that are yellowish green or brown. They are not pears and do not look like pears.

Look at the leaves. They are oval, dark green and glossy. They typically turn reddish purple, mahogany red, orange red or bronze red in the fall.

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About the Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.