Pear

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About 30 species; see text

The pear is a fruit tree of genus Pyrus (pronounced /ˈpaɪrəs/) and also the name of the tree's edible pomaceous fruit.[2] The pear is classified in subtribe Pyrinae within tribe Pyreae and is a perennial. The apple (Malus × domestica), which it resembles in floral structure, is also a member of this subcategory.

The English word “pear” is probably from Common West Germanic *pera, probably a loanword of Vulgar Latin pira, the plural of pirum, akin to Greek ἄπιος apios (from Mycenaean *ápisos), which is likely of Semitic origin. The place name Perry and Pharisoulopol can indicate the historical presence of pear trees. The term "pyriform" is sometimes used to describe something which is "pear-shaped".

Contents

History

The cultivation of the pear in cool temperate climates extends to the remotest antiquity, and there is evidence of its use as a food since prehistoric times. Many traces of it have been found in the Swiss lake-dwellings. The word “pear”, or its equivalent, occurs in all the Celtic languages, while in Slavonic and other dialects different appellations, but still referring to the same thing, are found—a diversity and multiplicity of nomenclature which led Alphonse de Candolle to infer a very ancient cultivation of the tree from the shores of the Caspian to those of the Atlantic.

Pears grow in the sublime orchard of Alcinous, in Odyssey vii: "Therein grow trees, tall and luxuriant, pears and pomegranates and apple-trees with their bright fruit, and sweet figs, and luxuriant olives. Of these the fruit perishes not nor fails in winter or in summer, but lasts throughout the year."

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