Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

pear Pyrus communis, P. sinensis, and other Pyrus spp; a fruit of which the connoisseur Edward Bunyard (1920) remarked that, while it is ‘the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption’. He meant pears of the western world, ignoring the crunchy Asian pears which in his time were gritty and inferior although the fine new varieties of them are no longer gritty.

The pear originated in the general region of the Caucasus, as did its cousin the apple; and both fruits were spread by the Aryan tribes from that area as they migrated into Europe and N. India. Both belong to the rose family, Rosaceae.