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Black Worcester pear trees

Pyrus communis
Black Worcester

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.

Black Worcester 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.

  • PG1Premium half-standard 12L pot-grown tree Quince A rootstock £46.00
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
  • PG2Premium half-standard 12L pot-grown tree Pyrus c. Kirchensaller rootstock £46.00
    Very large tree (4m-7m after 10 years)

Bare-root

  • BR11-year bare-root tree Pyrus c. Kirchensaller rootstock £21.45
    Very large tree (4m-7m after 10 years)
  • BR22-year bare-root tree Pyrus c. Kirchensaller rootstock £31.45
    Very large tree (4m-7m after 10 years)
    (Straight Lead)

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

Using

  • CroppingHeavy
  • Picking seasonVery late
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-2 months
  • Fruit persistenceNormal ripening
  • Flavour qualityGood
  • WildlifeRHS perfect for pollinators
  • Food usesCulinary

Growing

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Flowering group3
  • Pollinating othersPoor
  • PloidyTriploid
  • VigourSlightly large
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • Organic cultureSuitable

Problems

  • Disease resistanceGood
  • ScabSome resistance

Climate

  • Climate suitabilityTemperate climatesWarm climates
  • Summer average maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)

Identification

  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1550 - 1599
  • Flower colourWhite
  • Leaf colourGreen
  • Fruit colourRed - dark