A deciduous Tree growing to 5 m (16ft 5in). It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.
The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. The flavour ranges from rather harsh and astringent (cultivars used for making alcoholic drinks ie Perry) through to soft, sweet and very juicy. The best dessert fruits have an exquisite sweet flavour, usually with a very soft flesh, whilst cooking varieties have harder less sweet flesh.
Prefers a good well-drained loam in full sun. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates light shade but does not fruit so well in such a position. Tolerates atmospheric pollution, excessive moisture and a range of soil types if they are moderately fertile, though plants can become chlorotic on very alkaline soils. Established plants are drought tolerant. Very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to below -15°c. Widely cultivated for its edible fruit in temperate areas, there are many named varieties that can provide fruit from late July to April or May of the following year.
Where space is at a premium, or at the limits of their climatic range, pears can be grown against a wall. Most cultivars will grow well against a sunny south or west facing wall but, because of their relatively early flowering, they are not really suitable for north or east facing walls. Most cultivars are not self-fertile and a number of cultivars have incompatible pollen, so care must be taken to ensure the provision of a suitable pollen partner. Trees grow less well in grass, root secretions from the grass inhibiting the root growth of the pear.