Iberian pear (Eng), piruétano, galapero, peral silvestre (Spa), peralloner, perelló (Cat), estripio (Glg), acherea (Baq), pereira-brava, catapereiro (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? The unripe fruits of this pear tree are so hard that in the past shepherds used to collect them, to use them as projectiles for their slings.
This is a shrub or small tree, up to 10 m in height, with a wide irregular crown and twigs that sometimes end in spiny tips. The leaves are deciduous, alternate (this characteristic is best observed in the middle part of the branches, as at the ends they are very close together), oval or orbicular. They terminate in a sharp point and have a relatively long stalk. The blade is 2.5-5 cm long and 1-4 cm wide. The margin is finely serrated and the leaf blade, although hairy when it sprouts, is hairless and a lustrous green when mature. The flowers are borne in large groups in March or April; the petals are whitish and smaller than those of Pyrus communis (usually 8-11 mm long), a species with which it is easily confused. The fruit are small pears (pomes), up to 3 cm long by 2 cm wide, and the1.5 to 3 mm wide stalks are more or less rigid.
This species is indifferent to soil type, withstands drought well, but suffers a lot in frosts. It grows spontaneously together with holm oak, cork oak, and Pyrenean oak woodlands in pastureland, scrub, forest fringes, watercourses and on the banks of tracks or plantations, mainly between altitudes of 200 m to 800 m.
This small pear tree is a typical species in Iberia and northern Africa. It is mainly limited in range to the centre and west of the Iberian Peninsula, and northwestern Africa. It is absent from the northern third of Spain, but is abundant throughout Extremadura, much of Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, some provinces of Castilla y León, and the area southwest of Madrid. Confusion with other pear species, such as the European pear (Pyrus communis L.), and the cultivation of these for their fruit, makes it difficult to pinpoint the distribution and true origin of this plant.