Asian pears are true pears, but are a different species than the common pear. The common name "apple pear" has probably been given them because their texture is crisp like an apple, and some of them are shaped like apples. But they are not crosses between apples and pears. They are a distinctly different fruit, with their own unique flavor. This group of pears is native to Japan and China. They were selected for size, shape, flavor, and lack of grittiness. The fruit is eaten firm like an apple, and it will keep in the refrigerator for four to eight months without getting soft like a 'Bartlett' pear. They bloom and ripen just like a 'Bartlett' pear and the trees are pruned like ordinary pear trees. Like other pears, they espalier well. The blossom is white and attractive.
The fruit has its own characteristic flavor, texture, and juiciness. All are susceptible to fireblight and need cross-pollination with any other pear that flowers at the same time.
All Asian pears grow well on the West Coast and they may grow in the South or the East if adequate fireblight protection can be provided. They are best grown on Asian rootstocks, although they are very dwarf on quince root-stock. Fruit should be thinned to one fruit per spur and this is best done when fruit is Vt inch in diameter, six to seven weeks after bloom.
The fruit should be picked when it is ripe, not picked early and ripened indoors as with other pears.
'Chojuro' A flat, russet-skinned variety with a strong flavor, this fruit is very firm, stores a long time, and bears as regularly as clockwork every year. Origin: Japan. 'Hosui' Golden brown skin covers a large, apple-shaped fruit with notably fine-textured, juicy, sweet flesh. Fruit lasts up to six months after picking. Origin: Japan. 'Kikusui' This flat, yellow-pear has good texture and is a very juicy, mild-flavored variety. Pick when the skin begins to turn yellow. Origin: Japan. 'Shenseiki' A flat, yellow-pear with good texture and flavor, this is the earliest maturing quality Asian pear and should be picked when the skin is yellow. Origin: Japan. 'Shinko' Perhaps the heaviest bearer of Asian pears, it is also fine textured and rich flavored. The medium-sized applelike fruit is a glowing golden russet color; lasting time after harvest is two to three months. Origin: Japan. 'Twentieth Century' ('Nijisseiki') A flat, green pear with fine flavor, this is the most popular Asian pear in California. It tends to bear in alternate years since it crops very heavily. Thin to one fruit per cluster. Origin: Japan.. 'Ya Li' A pear-shaped fruit with fine texture and flavor. 'Ya Li' is partially self-fertile so it will set fruit without a pollinator but will produce a heavier crop with a pollinator. Because it blooms earlier than most other varieties, it must have an early pollinator such as 'Tsu Li' or 'Seuri'. Thin for best size and annual bearing. An extremely low chill requirement (300 hours below 45° F) means this apple pear will set fruit in warm southern areas. Origin: China.
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