Pears thrive in cooler regions and have long been cultivated in Europe. The roast pear, which was already known in the Middle Ages, is one of the oldest popular pear varieties in our latitudes. From around 1750 a flourishing age began for the cultivated pears. Many varieties have been bred, most of which are listed in the Illustrated Handbook of Fruit Science of 1860. The historical list includes around 260 different types of pear. Some of them are still very well known today. These include Williams Christ, Clapps Liebling, Gellert’s Butterbirne and Gute Luise.

Cultivation and care of old pear varieties

Since when the most popular old pear varieties are demonstrably known

  • Williams Christ since 1770
  • Gellert’s butter pear since 1820
  • Peters pear since 1750
  • Good Luise since 1796
  • Clapp’s favorite since 1860
  • Alexander pear since 1870
  • Conference since 1894
  • Mayor’s pear since 1800
  • Bosc’s bottle pear since 1810
  • Champagne frying pear since 1797

Williams Christ

The Williams Christ is a pear variety that enjoys great popularity among generations of gardening enthusiasts in Germany. In the 1920s, it was one of only three pear varieties that were chosen as imperial fruit varieties. The Williams Christ is still one of the most widely grown pear varieties in this country. Your name sounds so familiar that it is hardly noticeable that it is actually of English origin. This is where the Williams Christ pear variety originated in Berkshire and was known as early as 1770. The pear was named Williams after the English nursery owner who distributed it.

Appearance and characteristics of the fruit
The Williams Christ is a tasty table pear with a nutmeg-like fragrance. It has an average length of 84 mm and is about 60 mm wide. Their weight is around 180 g. The peel of the elongated, pear-shaped fruit is light yellow to light green in color when it is ripe and mostly smooth. Light redness may appear on the sun side. The peel points are fine and inconspicuous. The tender pulp of the Williams Christ is white, melting and juicy. It tastes harmoniously sweet to slightly sour.

Raising and ripening
The Williams Christ pear thrives best in warm, nutrient-rich, well-drained and deep soil. The tree grows semi-upright and is richly branched. Optimal locations are wind-protected valley to medium-high altitudes. The pear also ripens in cooler regions. To renew the fruit wood, a firm cut and good care cuts are necessary. The ripe fruits can be harvested from mid-August to early September.

Susceptibility to disease
The Williams Christ pear is easily susceptible to scab. There is also a strong risk from fruit maggots. The Williams Christ pear is also very susceptible to fire blight and pear leaf suckers. In severe winter frosts, frost plates form.

Gellerts Butterbirne

Gellert’s butter pear is a very old variety of pear. Your name has been well known among German gardening enthusiasts for more than a hundred years. It came into German trade as early as 1838 and was therefore named after the German poet Christian Fürchtegott Gellert. However, the pear originally comes from France, where it was first cultivated in 1820.

Appearance and properties of the fruit
The Gellerts butter pear is a very good table pear that weighs up to 200 g. It is up to 90 cm long and about 75 cm thick. The skin of the frustoconical shaped fruit is greenish-yellow when it is ripe and bronze-orange-red on the sunny side. The yellowish-white melting pulp has a high juice content and a tartaric aroma.

Rearing and ripening
The Gellerts butter pear is one of the fastest growing pear varieties. It usually forms a strong and straight trunk and a sweeping crown. The special thing about her is that she can reach an age of 100 years. It can thrive optimally in warm and sunny locations. The soil should have a high proportion of lime and humus. It must be permeable and slightly damp. The most favorable planting time is autumn. The tree can be cut back a little in May and August. The crown can be easily thinned out in autumn. The fruit is harvested in mid-September. Susceptibility to disease – sometimes leaf tan


The Petersbirne is a very old pear variety that came into fashion for the first time as early as 1750. It used to be present in almost every garden. Today it has become a little quieter around her.

Appearance and properties of the fruit
The mostly conical fruit has a yellowish to reddish skin. The pear is small and has a very sweet, slightly cinnamon taste. That is why it is nicknamed honey pear and sugar pear.

Rearing and ripening
The pear pear is very robust and is therefore also suitable for higher altitudes with lower temperatures. However, it needs a lot of sun. The tree grows strongly upright and reaches a height of 2 meters. The best time to plant is in autumn. For optimal growth, the pear pear needs fresh bark mulch or compost as well as regular watering. The pruning can be done in spring or autumn. Fruits can be harvested as early as June.

Susceptibility to disease

  • often grating
  • sometimes fruit maggots

Good Luise

The Gute Luise is still one of the most commonly grown pear varieties. She was discovered in Avranches as early as 1778 and is therefore often called the Good Luise von Avranches.

Appearance and properties of the fruit
The fruit of Guten Luise is 70 to 90 mm long and weighs up to 200 g. Their greenish-yellow skin is colored brown-red on the sunny side. The juicy, white and melting pulp of the table pear is characterized by a sweet and sour aroma.

Rearing and maturity
The branches of the Good Luise grow obliquely to steeply upright on the trunk, which is why the tree has a narrow and high crown. It does not make high demands on location and climate, which is why it can be grown almost anywhere. However, a warm location and a calcareous soil are optimal. Then the yields are particularly high. The fruits can be harvested from mid-September.

Susceptibility to disease

  • somewhat susceptible to scab
  • Wood and flowers are sensitive to frost

Clapp’s darling

The old pear variety Clapps Liebling, which is widespread and very popular in Germany, originally comes from the USA and was first described as Clapps Favorite in 1869. It received its current German name later, after it was initially called Clapp’s favorite pear.

Appearance and characteristics of the fruit
Clapps Liebling has medium-sized to large fruits that are double-cone to pear-shaped. They can be up to 96 mm long and up to 72 mm wide. The color of the skin is yellowish-green and can also be light yellow on very ripe fruits. On the sunny side, the shell is sometimes colored orange-red. The flesh of the pear is melting to semi-melting and sometimes slightly grainy. The juicy fruit has a sweet and sour aroma.

Rearing and ripening
The tree grows in a sheltered location and requires nutritious, not too
heavy soil. Otherwise, Clapp’s favorite is not very demanding and is suitable for both warm and cool temperatures. Soil loosening and fertilization are beneficial. The branches often have to be thinned out and tapered. The harvest time is mid to late August.Susceptibility to disease Clapp’s darling is not very susceptible to disease.


The Alexander pear, along with the Guten Luise and the Williams Christ, is one of the most widely grown pear varieties to this day. The pear variety, named after its discoverer Lucas Alexander, has been distributed by a tree nursery in Orléans since 1874.

The appearance and characteristics of the fruit
Alexander pears are large and weigh up to 250 grams, their length averages 85 mm and their width 75 mm. The smooth-skinned fruits are evenly bell-bellied, green in color and rusted light brown. They can also look yellow when very ripe. The flesh is white, melting and juicy. The pears taste sweet and only slightly sour.

Rearing and ripening
The Alexander pear is characterized by climatic robustness and high yields. It does not make any special demands on the location, but prefers clay soils. Older trees have a tall crown with overhanging supporting branches and long, thin branches. Because of this long fruit wood, the Alexander pear needs a lot of pruning.

Susceptibility to disease

  • pretty tough
  • also tolerates harsher climates
  • resistant to diseases and pests


Conference is one of the most traditional and widespread European pear varieties. It originated in England around 1894 and was grown there in the tree nursery of Thomas Francis Rivers.

Appearance and characteristics of the fruit
The slender, bell-bellied fruit is small to medium in size with a long neck. It grows up to 110 mm long and is 55 to 65 mm wide. The Conference pear often looks uneven because it is usually only drawn in on one side below the stem. Their rough green to greenish-yellow skin is often covered with rust. The fine-melting, white-yellow pulp of the Conference has a sweet and slightly spicy aroma.

Raising and maturity
The tree needs nutrient-rich soil and has high heat requirements. It forms an upright, broad pyramidal crown with heavily branched fruit wood. Therefore, intensive care of the incision is necessary. Conference can be grown at heights of up to 500 m. The fruits are ready to eat from mid to late September.

Susceptibility to disease

  • hardly any pest infestation
  • schorfanfällig
  • susceptible to chlorosis in lime-rich soils

Mayor’s pear

The mayor’s pear was originally a random seedling and emerged around 1800 in Charneux, Belgium. That is why it is also known under the name “Delicious from Charneux”. In the 1920s, the mayor’s pear was one of the three pear varieties that were selected as one of the imperial fruit varieties.

Appearance and properties of the fruit
The fruits of the mayor’s pear are about 60 mm in diameter and up to 10 cm in size. Their yellow to slightly green shimmering skin has numerous points and may be a little reddened on the sun side. The fine pulp is white to yellowish-white and has a sweet and sour taste.

Rearing and ripening
The mayor’s pear can be planted all year round. The best time, however, is autumn, as the tree can then take root before the cold snap. In the first time after planting, the tree must be well watered. A sunny to partially shaded location is favorable. The soil should be slightly alkaline and rich in nutrients, humos and lime. The pruning can be done in spring so that the tree can grow again into summer. The harvest takes place from the end of September to mid-October.

Susceptibility to disease

  • Pear grid
  • Pear leaf sucker

Flaschenbirne forests

The Boscs bottle pear is an old pear variety with a controversial origin. It could either have been bred by Professor van Mons in Belgium around 1807 or it was found by chance seedling near Apremont in 1793. The pear was named after Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc. In the 1920s, the Boscs bottle pear was one of three types of pear that were chosen as the Reichsfruchtsorte.

Appearance and properties of the fruit
The fruit grows up to 110 mm long with a diameter of up to 70 mm. The rough skin of the bottle-shaped pear is green-yellow in color and completely rusted. The fine yellowish and juicy flesh has a mild sweet and sour aroma.

Rearing and maturity
The tree needs a warm location. Regular mulching promotes healthy growth. Its broad pyramidal crown has horizontal side shoots and upright leading shoots. The fruits can be harvested from mid to late September.Susceptibility to disease pear grate

Champagne frying pear

Roast pears were already known before 1500. The champagne frying pear was probably made near Stuttgart. It was described for the first time in 1797.

Appearance and characteristics of the fruit
The bergamot-shaped yellow-green fruit is medium-sized. Their smooth skin shows little russeting. The special thing about the pear is its tannin content. It tastes fine dry, vinous and spicy. Ten days after the harvest, the fear begins to turn pasty.

Rearing and ripening

The champagne pear needs a nutrient-rich soil and can be cultivated at altitudes between 300 and 450 m. The crown of the pear tree is medium-sized, broad-oval and spherical. The hanging and nest-like arranged fruit wood must be pruned regularly.

Susceptibility to disease

  • medium fire blight susceptibility
  • rapid pear decay (viral disease)

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