Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Flowering Pear, Callery Pear
Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select'

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pyrus (PY-russ) (Info)
Species: calleryana (kal-lee-ree-AH-nuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Cleveland Select

4 vendors have this plant for sale.


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Equilibrium
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5 positives
No neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive valygirlgj On Jul 23, 2014, valygirlgj wrote:

So far, it is a lovely little tree, planted March of 2013, growing very fast! It made it through a bad winter here in Western Colorado. Many people lost native shrubs, trees, roses, etc. which normally would come thru unscathed. This tree is surviving high winds & a hot summer just fine, possibly because it is getting a lot of shade from Elm trees. It's not on a drip line & we water it deeply about every 2 weeks.

Negative coriaceous On Apr 4, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I concluded that this tree is an inferior ornamental long before I found out that it's invasive.

The lifespan of a callery pear is typically 10-15 years, with luck perhaps 20. (Dirr) I can't count the number of callery pears I've seen split and disintegrate before reaching maturity, because the tree's architecture can't support its own weight, especially in windy, snowy, or icy weather. Since 'Bradford', many cultivars have been released which are claimed to have stronger architecture, but they all have this propensity to splitting, and in the landscape I still see few surviving into maturity.

The flowers are pretty and very early, but they have a powerful pervasive stink.

The foliage is attractive and rarely troubled by disease. Fall color is generally good. But these merits don't begin to make up for the short lifespan.

This tree is tremendously overplanted. Given the variety of beautiful flowering trees that are available, why not choose something with more character and a longer life?

Some cultivars are self-sterile, but they all produce copious viable seeds (bird-dispersed) when they can cross-pollinate with another cultivar, or with root suckers when they're grafted, as they almost always are. The offspring are usually spiny and have become destructive of natural habitat in the eastern US, according to the US National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service:

This species has naturalized from New York to Kansas and Texas, and also in Utah and California.

Positive cactusjumper On Aug 11, 2012, cactusjumper from Glendale, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

The Bradford Pear grows well here in Phoenix, Arizona. Absolutely love this tree. It grows to a large tree with a wonderful dark green umbrella canopy. The leaves turn yellow, brown, and red when the weather finally starts to get cold, about December. By February, the tree is beginning to leaf out again. Yes, it drops all of its leaves and the larger the tree, the more leaves to clean up, but every leaf cleaned up is well worth having this tree. Sometimes a good wind will take off some of the leaves, but its so full and beautiful, you will never notice.

Positive Hybrid21 On Apr 16, 2011, Hybrid21 from Windsor, CO wrote:

It all depends on where you live! In the Rocky Mountain Region this tree is NOT invasive and is NOT weak. It grows slower here which helps the tree to grow stronger. Seedlings do not survive, therefore it is not an invasive tree here. There are areas where this tree should not be planted because it is invasive and fast growing, making for a weak tree, but the Rocky Mtn. Region is not one of those areas. Before you listen to all the bad press this tree gets, check your area.

Positive FrillyLily On Apr 25, 2010, FrillyLily from springfield area, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have several of these in my yard. They grow quickly, the roots are not invasive like the maples or willows. They bloom early in the spring, and are one of the first trees to get leaves. The fall color is beautiful also. The tree shapes nicely without having to do alot of pruning, although many you buy are branched too low and need limbed up as they grow. They root steady within a couple years, so you won't have to stake them for too long. The birds love the trees, they are perfectly branched for nesting or hanging bird houses. They do produce a small hard fruit, that is quite dry. It doesn't make a mess in my yard, they just dry up an fall off. I can't tell the wildlife eat them. Some neighbors of ours had quite a bit of her tree break off in a storm, within 3 years, it had all grown back and looked ok. She was glad she didn't cut it then! My experience with the Cleveland has been nothing but good! Oh, they don't need endless watering when you first plant them, like many do. And they will grow even in clay soil, mostly that is all we have around here.

Positive underscore8 On Jul 25, 2009, underscore8 from Waynesville, NC wrote:

great tree is supposed to be stronger wind tolerate blooms and leaves are pretty. I love this tree and everyone should plant them.

Negative Equilibrium On May 27, 2005, Equilibrium wrote:

Well, here we have yet another Calleryana Hybrid. Highly Invasive.

Calleryana Pears shouldn't be planted and they should all be removed from the landscape. The flowers can be pollinated by other Calleryana Pears and I am told the "thorniness' gene is dominant so we are probably staring at a future filled with veritable thickets of escaped Calleryana Pears.

Several years ago the former Director of the Federal Plant Introduction Station in Maryland where the original Calleryana selection (Bradford) was found and cloned. He was interviewed for an article published in the Tennessee Conservationist Magazine. "He was quite elderly, told a fascinating story of destroying the "mother" tree, and quite concerned about what they had unleashed upon the landscape." This speaks volume to me regarding all Calleryana Pears.

Calleryana Pears are beginning to dot the countryside just as Russian Olives, Japanese Honeysuckles, Kudzu, Chinese Tallow, Buckthorn, and Burning Bushes are. I read the interview with the former director of the FPIS and this man's sincere concern and remorse for what was "unleashed" was beyond evident. The National Arbor Day will not offer them any longer... what does this say? Seriously, I wholeheartedly believe Bradfords, Cleveland Selects, RedSpires, Aristocrats, and all of the other cultivars (now being referred to as the Stepdford Wives of pears)released under catchy names to lull the public into a false sense of security should be pulled form the market given the existing damage to the countryside which is well documented. There is no question in my mind that they should ALL be removed from the landscape as these plants have only just begun to wreak havoc.

For you bird lovers out there, Callery fruits are sorely lacking in lipids therefore they have little nutritional value to native wildlife. Calleryana pears are outcompeting native trees that are necessary to the survival of many species of animals indigenous to North America.

Next time you see that "nice" fast growing Bradford or Cleveland Select or Redspire at WalMart or Lowes or Home Depot or K-Mart... do us all a favor and don't buy it. There are now something like 50 cultivars of Calleryana. Please look at the tag for the phrase "Callery Pear" or the word Calleryana. If you see that, please please please don't buy any of them.

The Coming Plague of Pears by Bob Stewart-
Green Industry News Volume 5 Number 8 October 1999

"While driving the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C. this past April I began noticing a large number of white flowering trees in the areas just off the road. For the following three weeks I continued to see these same white flowered trees everywhere. They weren't dogwoods. They weren't wild cherries or shadblow Amelanchier. Finally, driving along Route 450 in Bowie, my curiosity got the better of me and I pulled off the road and had a closer look at one of these trees. It was a pear. Not the common edible pear, Pyrus communis but the ornamental pear, Pyrus calleryana. It was obvious from where these trees were growing they weren't planned plantings. These trees were coming up wild and in tremendous numbers. In the spot in Bowie, I counted over one hundred trees in a stretch of neglected ground about 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. They were so thick that in places the individual young trees grew only a foot or two apart. We seem to have a new horticultural plague on our hands in Maryland, a plague of pears.

In 1918, the USDA was searching in China for improved root-stock plants for our commercial pear varieties. More than 100 pounds of Pyrus calleryana seed was brought back and sown at the USDA Plant Introduction Station in Glenn Dale, Maryland. A vigorous non-spiny seedling, found among the normally spiny Pyrus calleryana seedlings was selected out and given the name Bradford. The Bradford pear was quite a tree. It was fast growing, had dark shiny leaves and had a wonderfully formal shape. It grew easily and was adaptable to a wide range of site conditions. It wasn't troubled by bug or disease, and it was loved universally by the nursery world, landscaper, and homeowner. In 1982, the National Landscape Association voted it the second most popular tree in America, just behind the flowering crabapple. Oh yes, there was another nice thing about the Bradford pear, since most trees were identical clones, propagated by grafting, it didn't self-pollinate and didn't produce fruit.

The Cinderella story of the Bradford pear ended once it was discovered that these trees begin to fall apart when they reach an age of about twenty years, right at the pinnacle of their landscape glory. The very narrow crotch angles of the erect and plentiful branches are weak, and a gusty thunderstorm or a coating of wet snow or ice will bring the branches crashing down. In an attempt to make a better Bradford there appeared a succession of new callery pear cultivars. These had improved, or at least different, branching patterns with less chance of the branch breaking problem. Now the Bradford was not alone. There were other callery pears in the landscape to keep it company. There was the Aristocrat pear, and the Chanticleer pear, and the Redspire pear. There was also something else.....cross pollination among the callery pears. Suddenly Bradford and the other pears began to produce fruit. True, the fruit was small, an inch or less in diameter, but some of the trees produced very large quantities of this small fruit. In some way, and I suspect it may be the birds, the seeds within the fruit is being disseminated far and wide and new hybrid callery pears are popping up in every vacant lot and along every roadside throughout the area.

Whether or not a plethora of wild, ornamental pears is a plague depends on who eventually cleans up the ground on which they are rising up like new sown grass. Mowing over an overgrown patch of weeds is one thing; removing hundreds of four and five inch caliper trees is quite another. I live down the road apiece in Southern Maryland, and the other day I was picking up trash along the county road right-of-way in front of our house. Standing straight and tall out of the long grass and ragweed plants were two broom-stick stem-sized callery pear seedlings. The invasion is on."


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama
Rainsville, Alabama
Smiths, Alabama
Glendale, Arizona
Brighton, Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado (2 reports)
Grand Junction, Colorado
Windsor, Colorado
Douglas, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Tecumseh, Michigan
Lebanon, Missouri
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mount Olive, North Carolina
Pittsboro, North Carolina
Waynesville, North Carolina
Kyle, Texas
Cambridge, Wisconsin

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