This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Pyrus Spectabilis. Chinese Apple Tree
Cal. 5-fidus. Petala 5. Pomum inferum, 5-loculare, polyspermum.
PYRUS spectabilis umbellis sessilibus, foliis ovali oblongis serratis laevibus, unguibus calyce longioribus, stylis basi lanatis. Ait. Kew. v. 2. p. 175. Linn. Syst. Nat. ed. 13. Gmel. p. 842.
The Chinese Apple-Tree when it blossoms in perfection, answers truly to the name of spectabilis; a more shewy or ornamental tree can scarcely be introduced to decorate the shrubbery or plantation; its beauty like that of most trees, whose ornament consists chiefly in their blossoms, is however but of short duration, and depends in some degree on the favourableness of the season at the time of their expansion, which usually takes place about the end of April or beginning of May; the flowers are large, of a pale red when open, and semi-double, the buds are of a much deeper hue, the fruit is of little account, and but sparingly produced. Trees of this species are to be met with in some gardens of the height of twenty or thirty feet.
Dr. Fothergill is regarded as the first who introduced this Chinese native, he cultivated it in the year 1780; such plants of it as were in his collection, passed at his decease into the hands of Messrs. Gordon and Thompson, in whose rich and elegant Nursery, at Mile-End, this tree may be seen in great perfection.
Though perfectly hardy, as its blossoms are liable to be injured by cutting winds, it will be most proper to plant it in a sheltered situation.
It is usually increased by grafting it on the Crab stock.