The heirloom pears are very suitable for modern landscapes. Many of these trees have enduring qualities that have withstood the test of time. Here are profiles of a classic American and Belgian variety.
Belle Angelvine Pear
Recommended by U.P. Hedrick in Pears of New York, published in 1921, this variety goes by various other names. It was also called Winter Bell and Bretagne le cour. Other names include Uvedale’s St. Germain and Pound. A.J. Downing, author of Downing’s Fruits and Fruit Trees of America, published in 1849, recommended it for the Mid-Atlantic states.
An old European variety, this apparently originated in Belgium, and was grown in the 1840’s. The strong upright trees are very healthy and have dark branches. These bear large reliable crops every year. The extremely large fruits can weigh three pounds or so. They have a classic pear shape and taper to the stalk. The skin is greenish-yellow with a brown cheek. When stored for long periods, the cheek can turn yellow. These pears have brown russeting and dots. The stalks are two inches or more in length.
The solid firm flesh turns red when cooked. They’re an especially good variety for canning, cooking, and baking. These winter pears ripen rather late in the year.
Duchesse D’Angouleme Bronzee
This is a wonderful heirloom variety. Originally found in the garden of M. Weber in Dijon, France, this was a sport of the original Duchesse D’Angouleme as is indicated by the word Bronzee in the name. It was introduced around 1870 to 1873.
The fruits are considered to be slightly higher quality but just slightly smaller than that of the original parent tree. This pear is named for the bronze russeting on the fruit. It has a bronze to brownish-red skin.
So far as the size is concerned, these are very large to large pears. They usually ripen rather late season, mostly from October into December. Considered a premium quality dessert fruit, this has very juicy and sweet melting flesh with a fine texture.