Callery Pear

Pyrus calleryana Decne. – Rosaceae – rose family

Callery pear is a common street tree in Albion and many other American cities.  It is planted for its showy white flowers and colorful fall foliage.  According to that all-too-often-solely-relied-upon collaborative effort called Wikipedia, which has a very well-written entry on Callery pear, this east Asian species was named for J.M. Callery, a 19th century French missionary to China who later became a diplomatic translator.  Callery was a plant enthusiast who sent living material of ornamental Chinese species back to Paris, where this tree was described by the eminent French botanist, Joseph Decaisne.

In our study of Albion street trees, we have made no attempt to differentiate among the numerous named cultivated varieties (cultivars, abbreviated cv.) of Callery pear.  A popular one is cv. ‘Bradford,’ which is commonly known as the Bradford pear.

The beauty of a Callery pear tree in flower far exceeds its fragrance, which can range from seemingly absent to acrid and nauseating.

The Callery pears planted downtown on Superior Street are cv. ‘Chanticleer,’ the Chanticleer pear, a popular cultivar reported to have originated on the streets of Cleveland, Ohio.