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Catillac pear trees

Pyrus communis

Catillac is a traditional French pear variety, first described in "Le Jardinier Francais", a popular French gardening book published in the 1650s during the reign of Louis XIV. There is some evidence this variety was grown in the royal orchards at Versailles at this time.

Unlike most modern pears, it is not usually eaten fresh, but is brought to perfection by slow poaching or cooking.

Catillac pears are fairly large, and store well, and the trees are also big and reliable heavy-croppers, and quite disease-resistant - all important characteristics before modern refrigeration.

As well as the interesting fruits, Catillac features particularly attractive spring blossom.

If you want to create a traditional French pear dessert as might have been served at the court of King Louis XIV, this is the variety you need.

Catillac pear trees for sale

Pot-grown

All pot-grown trees are suitable for planting out in the garden, some are suitable for growing in containers.

  • PG12-year bush-trained 12L pot-grown tree Quince A rootstock £41.00
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)

Bare-root

  • BR11-year bare-root tree Quince A rootstock £21.45
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
  • BR21-year bare-root tree Pyrodwarf rootstock £21.45
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
  • BR32-year (1.75m) bare-root tree Pyrus c. Kirchensaller rootstock £34.95
    Very large tree (4m-7m after 10 years)
    Contact us

How to grow

Catillac is a vigorous and heavy-cropping variety. It grows well in most climates, including the UK.

Catillac is a triploid variety and will not cross-pollinate other pears, but is easily pollinated by most other mid or late-flowering pear varieties.

The fruit size is relatively large by pear standards - provided you thin the fruitlets in late spring.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

History

Catillac pear was described by Nicolas de Bonnefond (or Bonnefons) in his book "Le Jardinier Francais", which was published several times (due to its immediate popularity) from about 1650 - 1706. He refers to it as Cadillac, which may suggest its origins, in the town of Cadillac near Bordeaux in south-western France. De Bonnefond states it is best used in the period December-January.

By de Bonnedond's time Catillac was widely grown in France, and is believed to have been planted in King Louis XIV's "Potager du Roi", the fruit and vegetable garden attached to the Palace of Versailles, which was constructed between 1678 and 1683. It is likely that de Bonnefond was employed by Louis XIV at some stage.

Catillac characteristics

Using

  • CroppingHeavy
  • Picking seasonLate
  • Keeping (of fruit)3 months or more
  • Fruit persistenceNormal ripening
  • Flavour qualityVery good
  • WildlifeRHS perfect for pollinators
  • Food usesCulinary

Growing

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Flowering group3
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • PloidyDiploid
  • VigourSlightly large
  • Bearing regularityRegular

Problems

  • Disease resistanceGood
  • ScabVery resistant

Climate

  • Climate suitabilityTemperate climatesWarm climates
  • Summer average maximum temperaturesWarm (25-30C / 76-85F)

Identification

  • Country of originFrance
  • Period of origin1600 - 1649
  • Flower colourWhite
  • Leaf colourGreen
  • Fruit colourYellow / Red
  • Fruit sizeLarge
  • AwardsRHS Award of Garden Merit