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Pyrus pashia D. Don

Modern name

Pyrus pashia Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don


P. variolosa G. Don; P. kumaoni Decne.; P. pasbia var. kumaoni (Decne.) Stapf

A small unarmed or spiny tree; branchlets glabrous when mature, usually more or less woolly when young. Leaves ovate or oblong-ovate, 2 to 4 in. long, 114 to 2 in. wide, usually rounded at the base, apex varying from long-tapered to blunt, glabrous when mature but often woolly when young, especially beneath, margins set with fine, rounded teeth; stalk 1 to 112 in. long. Flowers white (rosetinted at first in some cultivated trees), about 34 in. across, closely packed in rounded corymbs 2 in. across, each flower on a stalk 12 to 34 in. long; calyx-lobes ovate to triangular, obtuse or acute; typically the inflorescence-parts are woolly but they may be glabrous or almost so; styles three to five; stamens twenty-five to thirty. Fruits nearly globular, but narrowed towards the stalk, brown with pale specks, 34 to 1 in. across. Bot. Mag., t. 8256.

P. pashia is of wide distribution in temperate Asia, from Afghanistan throughout the Himalaya and then through Burma and Assam to W. China; introduced 1825. This is one of the most distinct and ornamental of pears, with its compact flower clusters, the rounded, overlapping petals and the cluster of deep red stamens in the centre of the flower. The leaves on sucker shoots or on vigorous shoots of cut-back trees are frequently deeply three-lobed. In the Himalaya the fruit is eaten after having been bletted, like a medlar.

The species varies greatly in indumentum from plants with the young leaves and inflorescence densely tomentose to plants with these parts glabrous. The latter have been distinguished as var. kumaoni (Decne.) Stapf but only represent an extreme state of the normal variation of the species.

Pyrus pashia was reintroduced by Forrest from Yunnan.



Other species in the genus