Trying to identify an old pear

lindarenee(a5 Ohio)July 23, 2013

We had an old pear tree when I was growing up that was referred to as "the sugar pear tree". It produced very small fruit that was quite hard and sweet. It seems that the pears were a brown color. I don't remember anyone ever using the pears although it surely had a purpose before my generation or it wouldn't have been planted. It would be a lot of work to peel and core the small hard pears. It was a standard size tree but it seems that it was wider than our other pear trees. I've never seen another one. Could someone tell me what type of pear tree it might have been? I've been googling but evidently not using the right search terms as I've found nothing. I grew up in the 50's and 60's so it's an heirloom of some kind! I'm not planning on buying a tree like it, I just often wonder what variety of pear it was. Thanks!

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

It sounds like Seckel, it is commonly called sugar pear. Its still pretty common in home orchards, its very tasty and reliable.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:07PM
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lindarenee(a5 Ohio)

Thank you, Scott. It must be Seckel. I remember the fruit as being almost hard to bite into, never soft. The seckel articles I've been looking at don't describe it that way, however, it fits the description in other ways. My mystery is solved! Blessings, Linda

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Seckel pears are hard when first picked, but if you let them sit out for several days, they ripen or soften. I think most other pears take longer to ripen

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:50PM
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A properly ripened Seckel is delicious! Take care of that tree.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:22AM
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lindarenee(a5 Ohio)

Thanks all! Sadly the relative who inherited the old homestead sold it off to a developer and the tree has been long gone. My friend and I rode our horses under the tree so we could reach the pears and ate them while they were hard. We had a plum tree of some sort that was referred to as a "prune tree" and produced small, delicious sweet oblong fruit that was a dark blue color. That tree was so loved that it was left in the center of the drive to the dairy. You drove around it. There was an old, old apple tree that was hollow through the lower and mid part of the trunk. You could easily see inside the trunk as part of the trunk was missing. The tree lived on like that for quite a few years and still produced apples! I never understood how the roots could transfer any nutrients to the branches. It was a Rambo and all our pies came from it. The good old days! Thanks for helping me with the pear tree!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:35PM
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I loved that story. I've had the same questions about how the trees manage to keep on keepin' on.

That's a good way to live.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:58PM
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There is an old apple tree that about matches that description behind the ruins of my great-grandparents home, which was last inhabited in 1917. The tree has had a forest grow up around it, had 2 large oaks blow down beside it in a storm last year, has had for years half of its circumference at the base missing. It still occasionally puts out some very tasty small greenish yellow apples in October. I have intended for years to learn to graft so I could save a bit of my heritage; this story reminded me that I had better get cracking on that intention before it is too late.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:15PM
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lindarenee(a5 Ohio)

Thank you, friends! And eboone, YES, try a graft and treasure a piece of your family's history! My neighbor gave me a start of her rhubarb thats been passed through the family for over 100 years. Awesome!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 7:51AM
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