European pear, common pear (Eng), peral, peral común (Spa), perer (Cat), madariondoa, udareondoa (Baq), pereira, pereiro (Glg), pereira (Por).
“I’d like to see him,” said Sancho; “but to fancy I’m going to mount him, either in the saddle or on the croup, is to ask pears of the elm tree.”
‘Don Quijote de la Mancha’, Miguel de Cervantes
A leafy tree which rarely reaches 10 m in height. Its crown is dense, the bark is greyish, and it has a variable form. It is often prickly and frequently resprouts from the stump. The leaves blade usually measures 3-7 cm long by 2.5 wide. They are deciduous, simple , wide, oval, with an entire or slightly serrated margin and a relatively long stalk. There are arranged alternately on the twigs or form dense bunches, giving the twig they are on a ringed appearance. The white flowers develop in numerous groups in April. The petals are larger than on the Iberian pear (Pyrus bourgaeana Decne.), being 12 to 15 mm long. The wild fruit (pome) is not exactly sweet, and although it is rather hard and grainy on the palate, it is not unpleasant raw. It has a more or less rigid, 1.5 to 3 mm wide stalk (like that of Pyrus bourgaeana Decne., but different from P. cordata Desv.).
This species is cultivated in the Iberian Peninsula and occasionally becomes established in the wild in shady, humid areas under the protection of forests, hedgerows and thickets. It is indifferent to substrate and lives from sea level up to altitudes of 1000 m.
This species is native to eastern Europe and the Caucasus. It is currently cultivated in other parts of the world and naturalised across Europe (with the exception of the coldest areas in the north), eastern Asia, and some places in northern Africa. Its introduction into western Europe could have taken place at various periods in history, but it seems most likely that it happened in Roman times, when some crop varieties were already established. Today’s cultivated pear trees seem to be crosses, to a greater or lesser extent, between P. communis and other oriental species. On the Iberian Peninsula this species is grown in almost all the provinces, and it sometimes becomes established in the wild in hedgerows and thickets, or sheltered within watercourses.