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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Pear Humbug: New from Ukraine

Posted by Graham Rice on 02 Sep 2011 at 02:19 PM

Pear Hunbug ('Pysanka') Image ©Pomona FruitsUnusual pears are becoming more popular – Asian pears, for example, are much more widely grown than they were just a few years ago. Now, from eastern Europe, comes a new pear called Humbug ('Pysanka') – and it's striped.

As you can see from the picture (click to enlarge) each fruit - in the traditional pear shape, not round like an Asian pear - is pale green striped in pale yellow from top to bottom, with each yellow stripe stained in pink. And then the whole fruit is delicately spotted in pale-centred green spots. It's a very pretty fruit. Not only that, the young shoots are also striped.

Originating in the Ukraine, in eastern Europe this pear is stored through the winter and then used as a table decoration at Easter to celebrate the new spring. The fruits can be eaten raw, they're delightfully sweet and juicy, or cooked and although the skin is thick, this helps the fruits store well through the winter. The tree also shows good disease resistance.

Like most pear varieties Humbug needs a pollinator to set fruit. It's a Group C variety which means that popular varieties like 'Conference' and 'Williams' Bon Chrétien' are will make good pollinators. But remember that this does not mean that the pollinating variety must be in your own garden. If one of your neighbours has the right variety in their garden the bees will do the job and your tree will set fruit.

You can order the pear Humbug ('Pysanka') from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.

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