'John' Pear questions.

canadianplantMay 5, 2012

IT seems that most of the plants I get, are elusive on the internet :D

I found 2 decent sites. One from the Uni of SAsk (which was vague), and this one

http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/search.pl?accid= PI+617629

One tag says "Pyrus Communis", and the pot is labeled "Pyrus "John"". It turns out its a cross (Pyrus ussuriensis x Aspa) Since I cant find out about My pear, I want to look up the parents. The sibearan pear is easy enough, but "aspa" is again, elusive. I have to assume its a P Communis hybrid of some sort..

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Pyrus communis x P. ussuriensis cross. also called Beurre John.

yellow fruit, thin skin, mellow juicy flesh. (whatever mellow means). fair fresh eating; better if geown in far north and eatwn when perfectly ripe. preserves very well, no indication of method (cooler,freezer, canning, etc). fire blight resistant, hardy to zone 3.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:19PM
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THanks for the other name suggestion. I managed to find a bit more info with that name. Thanks! The stuff you posted was basically all I can find, just rehashed over and over (not using the Beurre name).

I think "mellow" refers to a flavor that doesnt knock you on your feet (like REALLY good strawberries).

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:02AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Intriguing hunt. I found this link which names the chap who developed this pear. Searching on his name shows up a lot of stuff he introduced.

Also you could look at:
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/nafex/2009-January/033955.html for another mention of John.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pears for the Prairies - John

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:08PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I really don't know why they still propagate John for the general public, you can't eat it out of hand, I use it for blending apple juice.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 12:52AM
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Cuz when you live in da north...you grow what some people a (pear) not necessarily what the rest of the world calls a pear. too bad we don't have a system of transportation and refrigeration that allows for long distant shipping so that even those lucky few fortunate enough to live in outer north dakota can have fresh tropical produce...like apples and pears...

and yes. i am fully aware that nothing tastes as good when it is allowed to fully mature on the tree. if you don't think that...what are you doing here?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

We can grow allot tastier pears then John, even in the north.
And yes, tropical fruit gets as far as the far north, ...if you don't know this,....what are you doing here?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:56PM
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IVe read conflicting info on how well it is for fresh eating. One of the few sources ive read, stated that they need to almost completely ripen on the tree (of course there is a source contradicting that :P )

I unfortunately have to go by availability. Ive only ever seen "john" for sale, and that was this year. I think Ive seen "ure" for sale at a nursery here, but when I phone they say they dont have any.

I DO still have 2 "flemish beauty" scions, but theyve been in the fridge since Feb, and the buds on my "john" have already burst - too late this year.

I have only ever seen a few types for sale in other places that are hardy here: Ure, Nova, I think Bosc, possibly flemish beauty, and one more that has escaped my memory.

Worse comes to worse, Ill get a bunch of different scion pear variaties, and stick em on there. I also wouldnt be against making apple pear juice (I also have a honeygold apple tree, and a seedling apple, which im going to get some grafting material for next Feb.)

What kind of pears would you recommend me in zone 3 or 4?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I have for many years now a good annual crop of the Golden Spice, keeps in the fridge for about a month, nice little pear.
Have Simonet, Westfort, Eearly Gold, Summer Crisp still alive but freezing back out in the country but would do OK in town I think. Anjou still hanging on for over 10 years, [in town] had fruits several times. Have now several Russian pears, some are very good tasty, [at our annual fruit show] ...see if you can join a fruit group and get some scion.

Golden Spice

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 1:19AM
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Thanks again Konrad. Ill keep an eye out for some good scion (along with the next batch of flemish beauty).

I did manage to find a "comice" pear. Looks like its in really good condition. Its labeled "dwarf". At least I can find a good amount of info on that one!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 4:04PM
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big tease. jeepers, my last girlfriend was like that. you state you got some nice varieties...but then you get all mum...

details, man, details...how much alcohol will it take to get the names? cuz while i live not far from NYC, my parents live not far from Fargo...and dad's got more land than he can farm...but never enough fruit trees.

if I lived within 500 miles i'd be at your place come harvest time. with booze. and cash. would it be harder getting into CA or back into the states?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 2:41PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

From Ecological Fruit Production in the North by B. Hall-Beyer and J. Richard:

John: A fair quality pear from Saskatchewan. Large with good shape and decent flavour, but better for canning than for eating out of hand. Its flavour is best when the tree has ample water. Worth a try in Zone 2b since it is of better quality than the pears that are fully hardy in that zone. Fireblight resistant.

The book says, "[Ure] is far and away the best pear that is fully hardy everywhere in Zone 3.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:59AM
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Thanks! I think I have a decent idea of what I have now, and what I can get away with....

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 2:52PM
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You should also mention Early Gold (of JefGold) from Jeffreys Nurseries. It is said to grow in zone 3 and it is a hardy Ure seedling.
Then there is also Miney (more Zone 3B) huge pears, more citrus like, but tasty. I am also trying to grow Patten (big yummy pears, Anjou-like), Westfort (small round pear), Old home(idem), Ste-Sophie (a bartlett greenish yellow), a russian pear called Lada and Phileson (Kurskaya *russian x FlemishBeauty). And finally, I am trying to grow a perry pear called Thorn. You can also lookup Claude Jolicoeur on the web, a guy whom have grown and tested several pear varieties in zone 4a.

Some of them might be limit for my 3b zone, but unless you try, how can you know?
But I agree, it is very hard to get proper info on cold hardy pears and most of those pears are really hard to acquire.

John is part of the Apostle series bred by Art Coutts of Unity Saskatchewan. Most of that series are half Harbin Ussurian pear (inedible, but the hardiest) Like John, Philip, Peter and Simon (Ussuriensis x Aspa). Where Andrew, David and Thomas are Ussuriensis x Bartlet crosses. (You can look up the U of Saskatchewan Fruit release document from 1960, written by C Patterson regarding those (I found it over the web).
They are all described as 'fair' and are recommended for cooking purposes mostly or as rootstock for grafting others, because of their hardiness and vigor. I am trialing Philip myself, it is said to be crunchy and 'very fair'.
We'll see how much truth there is to that. But when you know what to expect, it is ok to grow those trees, better then no pear tree at all!
Very few of those crosses are still sold 54 years later (I mostly found John, David and Philip in scattered nurseries)

BTW, I could not find anything about those Aspa pear either, other then that it is of russian origin. Maybe if we contacted the University of Sasktatchewan...

About Art Coutts: http://www.helpmefind.com/rose/l.php?l=7.23629&tab=1

PS: I forgot two more super hardy pears that I am trialing: Tait Dropmore, a Patten OP cross (probably with Ussuriensis) along with Pioneer #3 (of unknown origin, seems very Ussuriensis to me). They are both zone 2-3, but hardly edible. For cooking

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog on my orchard experiments (in french)

This post was edited by ajetteaqua on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 15:36

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:27AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Great looking winter orchard ajetteaqua! Is wildlife a problem, looks like your area can be.

>>You should also mention Early Gold I did.

Miney I grow but took like 10 years of it to fruit.
Also Andrew, another pear you don't want to grow unless you like cooking with allot of sugar.

I see lots of pear pictures in your blog,..guessing not all yours?

Including my Norkent Apple without permission, please take it down or credit it to the growers name when contacting me.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:46AM
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You're right about the pics. Sorry, I took yours out and I updated my blog to included the credits for the pictures that are not mine.

Wildlife has not been a problem much yet, but I did have wild rabbits and at least one dear chewing on my trees. I know I will need to get a fence sometimes soon. For now, I try and keep everything small, like grafts, in my fenced garden or close to my parents that live nearby, so they can keep an eye on things.

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog on my orchard experiments (in french)

This post was edited by ajetteaqua on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 15:42

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 3:33PM
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Hey Konrad. I just read this thread again and you mention having the pear "westfort". That is from my home town. How is it?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:23PM
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I purchased 'John' pear as part of a wildlife/wine package from St. Lawrence Nursery last year. Came with 'Pepi', 'David', and 'Olia' at a very reasonable package price($64) I'm thinking of making perry with these once they come into bearing, as the astringency would be welcome for fermented beverages and/or vinegar.
A neighbor has a 'Ure' that I was planning on grafting into(and taking some scions) with 'John' pollinator grafts.
While I'm still north of fireblight risk, it seems prudent to include a few of these bombproof urs. crosses in my orchard selection.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:04AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

>>Hey Konrad. I just read this thread again and you mention having the pear "westfort". That is from my home town. How is it?It's the earliest pear to ripen, ..so, I can never bring it to the show, but it's one of the best for fresh eating right off the tree or when just starting to fall down, sweet and juicy!
The only drawback, not fully hardy for my zone,..have some die back all the time.

Thank you ajetteaqua ...that looks allot better!
What has worked for me on little trees against wildlife, putting
farm fencing wire around in loop/ring, about 4 foot in diameter, this can be easily moved over to trim grass weeds etc.
You can put a couple of stakes through to keep it in place, or what I also have done, [hard to have lots of stakes around] put a couple of logs inside, push it through the wire opening a little at the bottom.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 12:23PM
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To follow up on the original question of the post, I did some digging over the web to find out more about the ASPA pear. I did not find an official definition, but came up with two leads:

Theory #1 - it comes from the village/city of ASPA in russia (look up Aspa, Permskiy kray, Russie, 617530 in google map)

Theroy #2- After looking at this russian site (http://vniispk.ru/pear.php)which contains 191 russian pear varieties, I translated all the names in google translate.
The only thing that contained something that looks like ASPA after translation would be the SPACE pear (A-SPA...) for the pyrus Kosmicheskaya.

From the descriptions of two different sites, we might have a potential candidate for that mysterious ASPA pear. Check these out:



the translated desription:

Summer grade obtained in VNIIS them. Michurin from crossing varieties Daughter letterhead and Russian Malgorzhatka. Authors: G. A. Lobanov and

ZI Ivanova. Zoned and distributed in amateur gardens Central Black Earth and Nonchernozem areas. Deserves cultivation in industrial

plantations as winter hardy and productive variety.

Tree with a rounded-spreading or shirokopiramidalnoy gustooblistvennoy crown. Skeletal branches off the trunk at an angle close to a right


Shoots straight, medium thickness, brownish, with a few small lenticels. Fruiting mainly on long-term, fruit wood. Leaves are green,

medium-sized, ovoid, with raised edges, sometimes elevated and tip sheet. Surface of the leaf blade is smooth, shiny.

Fruit below average size, weighing 90-110 g, one-dimensional, kubarevidnoy form. Peel tough, greenish-yellow, with dark green dots and small

subcutaneous blurred blush on the illuminated side of the fruit. Peduncle thick or medium thickness, long, straight or slightly curved,

directly or obliquely, with a thickening at the base. Funnel small, wide, ribbed. Saucer wide, medium depth, krupnorebristoe. Calyx closed.

Heart average. Stony layer around heart cells. Seed chambers closed. Seeds of medium size, dark brown in color, well executed, oblong-pointed.
The flesh is white, fine-grained, sweet, good taste. Fruits contain sugar - 8.9%, acid - 0.16%, the ratio of sugar to acid - 56, ascorbic acid

- 5.9 mg/100 g, P-active substances - 46 mg/100 g.

The fruit ripens in late August. Marketability of the fruit is high, especially with young fruit trees.
Fruits transportable. Consumer maturity coincides with removable. Term consumption of no more than two weeks.
Fruit intended for fresh consumption, but also suitable for processing: compotes, jams, dried fruit, etc.
Start fruiting 5-6 years after planting in the garden. At a young age bears fruit annually, with age periodic. Grade high-yielding. In some

years the crop reaches 150 kg per tree. At high yield fruit shrinking.
In Michurinsk grade high hardiness, Orel in winter 1978/79, it was noted freezing of wood and bark bole burns no more than 2.5 points.

Pros varieties: high yield and hardiness of the tree; fruit scab resistance.

Disadvantages varieties: tall, large-sized tree, the periodicity of fruiting, reductions in fetal weight at high load of wood, short term

fresh consumption, the presence in the fruit around the stony heart cells.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:34PM
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