Pyrus communis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Rosales Rosaceae

Scientific Name: Pyrus communis L.
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Pear, Wild Pear
French Poirier, Poirier Sauvage
Spanish Pera, Peral
Pyrus amphigenea Dostálek
Pyrus balansae Decne.
Pyrus communis L. subsp. pyraster L.
Pyrus elata Rubtzov
Pyrus pyraster (L.) Burgsd.
Pyrus sosnovskyi Fed.
Pyrus vsevolodii Heideman
Taxonomic Source(s): USDA, ARS, GRIN. 2017. Germplasm Resources Information Network [Internet]. Beltsville (MD): United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Available at: (Accessed: February 2017).
Taxonomic Notes: The two subspecies of Pyrus communis L., P. communis subsp. caucasica (Fed.) Browicz and P. communis subsp. pyraster (L.) Ehrh. (syn. P. pyraster (L.) Baumg.), are wild relatives of cultivated pear, P. communis subsp. communis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-02-10
Assessor(s): Barstow, M.
Reviewer(s): Kell, S.P.
Contributor(s): Kik, C., Donnini, D., Vörösváry, G. & Eliáš, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Rivers, M.C., Kell, S.P.

This assessment only relates to the wild subtaxa Pyrus communis subsp. caucasica and P. communia subsp. pyraster as P. communis subsp. communis is only found in cultivation. There is limited population information available but due to the relatively wide distribution of the wild subpopulations it is assumed that the overall population is large too. The main threat is hybridisation with cultivated pear, which may result in genetic pollution and erosion. However, it is not known to what extent this threat is impacting the wild subpopulations. Pyrus communis is globally assessed as Least Concern but it is recommended that information is gathered on population size and threats, particularly for subpopulations in Asia.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Pyrus communis is found across of much of Europe and Temperate Asia (USDA, ARS, GRIN 2017). Within Europe the species is found from south western Europe (France, Portugal and Spain), through the Balkans, eastern and middle Europe to the Baltic States and within Asia it is found in the Caucasus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as Cyprus and Turkey (USDA, ARS, GRIN 2017). The species is widely cultivated in its native and and non-native range and in some cases has escaped and become naturalised, for example in North America (MBG 2017). The extent of occurrence (EOO) of the species exceeds the threshold for a threatened category under Criterion B.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Estonia; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Georgia; Germany; Greece (East Aegean Is., Greece (mainland)); Hungary; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Netherlands; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation (Central European Russia, European Russia, Kaliningrad, South European Russia); Serbia (Kosovo, Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Switzerland; Tajikistan; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia, Turkey-in-Europe); Ukraine (Krym, Ukraine (main part)); Uzbekistan
Canada; United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is limited population information for this species. In Italy, P. communis subsp. pyraster is quite common but occurs as single, isolated trees. Overall it can be assumed that the wild population is large and stable due its relatively wide native range.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Pyrus communis is a small tree species, most often growing up to 12 m in height but reaching 20 m on occasion (Woodland Trust 2017). It grows in mixed forests, in medium-dry, warm sites, as well as on dry hillsides, rocky slopes and in maquis. It prefers calcareous, clay loam and sandy soils. Specifically, in Hungary, P. communis subsp. pyraster grows in dry oak woodlands, karst scrub-forests, acidofrequent woodlands, pine forests, in ravines and rocky areas, and rarely in beech forests, pioneer sand steppes and salt meadows (Soó 1966, Simon 1992). Pyrus communis is important to wildlife as the fruit can be eaten by birds and the flowers are important nectar sources for bees. Other invertebrates also depend on the tree (Woodland Trust 2017).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Pyrus communis subsp. caucasica and P. communis subsp. pyraster are primary wild relatives of, and potential gene donors to pear, as well as potential graft stock for the crop (USDA, ARS, GRIN 2017). According to the same source P. communis subsp. caucasica is also a secondary wild relative of and potential donor to Manchurian or Ussurian pear. Pyrus communis subsp. communis is cultivated for its fruit (pear). They can be prepared in a number of ways such as raw or made into jams, juices, chutneys and other preserves. The subspecies is also planted in gardens for its attractive flowers (Woodland Trust 2017). Pyrus communis is used for its timber. This can be used for veneer, cabinetry, turnery, carving and musical instruments (Meier 2015). The species is also reported to be used for revegetation and as fuel wood (CABI 2017).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Wild Pyrus communis can freely hybridise with cultivated populations, therefore the species is threatened by genetic introgression. Furthermore, if cultivars become naturalised they may out-compete the wild type. No other threats to the species are known.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Pyrus communis is found in at least 117 ex situ collections (BGCI 2017). Genesys Global Portal on Plant Genetic Resources (2017) reports 91 germplasm accessions of wild Pyrus communis from across the species native range. The species has been assessed as Least Concern within Europe (Kell 2011), Switzerland (Moser et al. 2002) and Luxembourg (Colling 2005). Preston et al. (2002) identified that better distinction between cultivated and wild pear is required in the field. Research of the population size and potential threats should be gathered for the species within its Asian range.

Citation: Barstow, M. 2017. Pyrus communis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T173010A61580281. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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