Redspire Pear – Bada Bing Bada Boom


Do you like the way I bloom?

Many don’t like the Callery Pears for a variety of reasons.

Being a non-native tree, many frown on seeing them so commonly used in gardens and on city streets. Good news for those disapproving of the Callery Pears is that they are short-lived trees. Most live only 20 years, at most about 30 years. Some decline of “old age” or disease (Redspire is susceptible to fire blight), where others succumb to wind damage.


Another common complaint is that the flowers have an offensive odor. It is not a cutting you want to force inside for an early flower show. Outside, I never really notice the smell. Funny thing about this odor. The volatile compounds in the Callery Pear are suspected to be attractants, and not necessarily an odor to repel pollinators. Shown in this post is the Redspire pear.


The ornamental pear is a tree that will provide food to pollinators when other plants may have yet to bloom. Many early bees, like honeybees will be seen gathering food. In late winter, the small fruit is a godsend to many birds like robins and blue jays having trouble finding berries, the preferred food plants being stripped by late fall. Yes, there are good points to this tree.


Besides just being pretty.


Ornamental pear should not be planted in most places in this country because it does invade forests perimeters. It is still undetermined to what extent how detrimental they have become.

While many of the pears were bred to be sterile, and cultivars each were propagated by cloning, each individual being genetically identical.  The Callery pear is self-incompatible and can not pollinate itself to produce fruit. The problem is that each of the subsequent cultivars is genetically different from the other cultivars, which means they can cross-pollinate with each other to produce fruit. This is how they are showing up as understory trees at forest edges. New crossed-trees are being created.


So how does this fit in with a warming climate? Where our cold climate has not had the ill effects of the pears invading forests, the changing climate may allow plants that did not cause harm to get a foothold where they just might. For non-native trees, predicting invasion risk is hard to do because those species may not have yet spread into all the habitats where they could get a foothold, like our area.


The ornamental plant trade and plants containing weed seed help non-natives get beyond dispersal barriers.  Movement of plants around the globe by bird, wind, accident or sale is a constantly changing “evolutionary” process, and not necessarily a problematic condition. Climate change could alter more areas more rapidly by how the plants adapt. You can see this is a big problem keeping places free of non-native plants, and almost a fruitless and costly endeavor.


Native plants are more limited in their distributions compared to non-native plants, probably because they have a harder time dispersing into suitable climates without humans transporting them. Inability to disperse is likely keeping some native species from inhabiting a broader range. This includes migrating to far off places having similar soil conditions too. Climate change is believed to be less limiting.


Many scientists are saying that non-native plants will likely occupy more of their potential range over time.  Native species occupy about 50 percent more of their potential range than non-native plants, but that could change. Now science is looking at the benefit of non-native plants more closely and whether wildlife will adapt. Why? Because they expect non-natives to become more pervasive.


It is like many things in life that have mixed blessings, when change happens adaptation becomes necessary. A tree with a nice shape, beautiful early spring flowers, roots that are deep, gorgeous fall color, feeds birds and insects when other plants are bare or not yet in bloom, mostly sterile, thornless, generally disease resistant, and is a small enough tree for many landscapes… yes all the good comes with a bit of bad – like most things in life.


But again, ask a bee.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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28 Responses to Redspire Pear – Bada Bing Bada Boom

  1. Annette says:

    Beautiful pics, Donna, as always, have a happy Easter 🙂

  2. Les says:

    Callery pears leapt the garden gate here years ago and have quickly colonized many areas. They especially seem to like that no-man’s land along the interstates. Forgive me if I am repeating myself, but we are in the process of removing all of them from the botanic garden where I work. We had this beautiful allee of them leading to the water that ran about 500′. We’ve yet to figure out what will replace them. I am rooting for live oak.

    • I know it is a problem some places and removal is warranted, but the sad thing is the cost and almost impossible job to keep them in check. When they first appeared in landscapes, it was not imagined they would be reproducing as they have over the years. I have read even in areas where they show up roadside and in thickets at forest edge, study is being done to see if the problem really is a problem. Findings have not been conclusive if the pear is causing harm, the very definition of invasive. I suppose many non-native plants now are under scrutiny. Buckthorn is a big problem here, yet birds eat a lot of it in winter and help disperse it. Exotic buckthorns are sold as ornamental landscape plants and are commonly used as hedges in many urban locales too. No current legal restriction on the sale or propagation of these plants exists. So how can naturalists and environmentalists deal with plants like this?

      • Les says:

        At the gardens we have a very active management and eradication program, and we take our cue from the state’s list of invasive species. There are some things we have zero tolerance for and remove whenever we see it, like Microstegium. There are other that we watch, like the only two remaining Wisteria floribunda, whose seed pods are cut off and bagged for disposal. The biggest issues we have arise when naturalists on staff disagree with the horticulturists as to just how bad a plant is.

  3. Pat says:

    The odor may be offensive, but the blossoms are lovely.

  4. alesiablogs says:

    I always wondered why a pretty flower could give off terrible smells. These flowers are particularly pretty too! Asking a bee is a funny point.

    • Funny, but true, a bee says a lot by what it visits when. If we observe what good plants do, maybe we could be more tolerant of whether they are native or not. One plant in particular comes to mind. Eucalyptus. It is being culled in California and it has been a wintering home to the declining Monarchs. I think people need to actually pay attention to nature. We want bees and butterflies, but get rid of plants that they need at specific times of year. And in the case of Eucalyptus, with thousands and thousands of Monarchs hanging from the branches does it make sense to cull them from that specific location? Oddly, it is more the climate and humidity there but the point is those plants are serving a purpose. And with hard winters we had the last two years, bees need food early in the season. Besides the Muscari and crocus in my garden, there is not much in early spring to feed the bees.

  5. Such an elegant bloom! I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to smell it but it’s sight is so pleasant.
    Happy Full Moon, my dear Donna and Easter! 🙂

  6. Your pear seems suited to your area. These pears are terrible landscape plants in our area because they split very easily in ice storms, which are quite common. They were the hot tree about 23 years ago when I started my business and were planted everywhere. Since then they have all had to be replaced or they are still there and look awful. I want my trees to live longer than 20 years anyway.

  7. Great photos. We have a similar problem here. I do know that we are making a concerted effort to try to encourage native bush. It is hard work, but I do enjoy seeing native bush. I had to walk through one to school as a child and it was like a different world and always so much to see.

  8. I think these are the trees that grow across the street from me. They are lovely in spring, but really are quite fragile. One was virtually flattened in the October snow storm we had three? years ago. They have since been butchered by the idiots in the highway department, too. I had never read that they are an invasive species. Fortunately, they don’t get much change to do that here, unless the birds are carrying seed out of town.

  9. We gardeners often have to work very hard to get a plant to grow. It can surprise us when those plants start showing up in spots where we didn’t intend them to grow.

    • Very true. I have such a hard time with mostly native plants not staying put. I have been trying to eliminate the goldenrod for instance. Other natives are very aggressive garden plants as well. Carex had to go for the same reason.

  10. A.M.B. says:

    It’s beautiful, but the smell is terrible. My college campus had them, and I actually changed my path to certain classes during its blooming season. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. It never bothered my then-boyfriend (now husband).

  11. We don’t see many of these around my area. In the city there are pear trees but again I don’t believe many ornamentals have survived as you said…short lived.

  12. babka113 says:

    Reblogged this on бабка113 and commented:
    Да когда же у нас в городе такое будет.Непонятная зима и весна.Может быть я тороплюсь.Прилетят и к нам пчёлы.

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