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Black Worcester pear trees

Pyrus communis
Black Worcester
Black Worcester is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators
The oldest true English pear, 16th century or earlier. Ideal for stewed pears.

Black Worcester pear trees for sale

Bare-root

  • BR11-year bare-root tree Pyrodwarf rootstock £29.75
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
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Black Worcester is probably the oldest English pear still in use. It can be traced back to the early 16th century, and is probably much older than that.

Black Worcester pre-dates the trend towards the Continental sweet buttery-fleshed pears that became popular in Victorian England. Instead the flesh remains hard, more like an apple, and is interspersed with gritty flecks. It sounds somewhat off-putting, but don't worry - this is not a pear you eat fresh, but rather one for the kitchen. Slow cooking transforms the fruits, and this is the definitive choice for traditional English stewed pears.

Black Worcester is also quite widely known as the Warden pear, although this is probably an old English term used to describe any long-keeping culinary pear.

How to grow

Like many ancient fruit varieties, Black Worcester is easy to grow and relatively untroubled by the usual pear diseases.

Pick the pears in the middle / end of October, and store in a cold garage or fridge. Unlike more modern pears, they will readily keep for a couple of months.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

History

The origins of Black Worcester are not certain, but it was known in the early 16th century, and famously appears on the coat of arms of the city of Worcester.

Black Worcester characteristics

Growing

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Flowering group3
  • Pollinating othersPoor
  • PloidyTriploid
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • Climate suitabilityTemperate climatesWarm climates
  • WildlifeRHS Plants for Pollinators

Using

  • Picking seasonVery late
  • CroppingHeavy
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-2 months
  • Food usesCulinary

Problems

  • Disease resistanceGood
  • ScabSome resistance

Identification

  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1550 - 1599
  • Fruit colourRed - dark