This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(derivation unknown). Rosacex, subfamily Pomeae. Ornamental woody plants grown for their handsome foliage and white flowers appearing in spring.
Evergreen or half-evergreen trees: leaves alternate, entire, or serrate, sometimes slightly lobed: flowers short-stalked, in umbels before or with the leaves; calyx densely tomentose, with lanceolate lobes; petals 5; stamens 30-50; styles 5, connate at the base and woolly; stigma 2-lobed; ovary 5-celled with 3-5 ovules in each cell: fruit a subglobose, ovoid or pyriform pome with persistent calyx. - Four species in China, Himalayas and Annam. Closely related to Malus, chiefly distinguished by the 3-5-ovuled cells and the 2-lobed stigma.
The species are very little known in cultivation and none of them seems to be in the trade. D. Delavayi has been introduced only very recently; D. Doumeri has been recommended as a stock for apples in tropical and subtropical countries and tried in Annam (R.H. 1904, p. 246); D. indica, though known for about 100 years, does not seem to be at present in cultivation either in Europe or in this country. They are adapted only for warmer temperate or subtropical regions. The fruits are more or less acid and are used for cooking; possibly they could be improved by selection and hybridization and might be developed into valuable fruit trees for warmer climates. Propagation is by seeds and possibly by grafting on apple stock.
D. Delavayi, Schneid. (Pyrua Delavayi, Franch.). Spiny tree, to30 ft.: leaves evergreen, ovate-lanceolate, rounded or broadly cuneate at the base, entire, glossy above, white-tomentose below, 2-4 in.: fruit ovoid, about 1 in. long. S. W. China. Franchet, Plant. Delavay. 47. - D. Doumeri, Schneid. (Pyrus Doumeri, Bois). Unarmed tree: leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate, entire or sparingly serrulate, white-tomentose below, 1-2 1/2 in. long: fruit subglobose, about 2 in. across. Annam. Jour. Soc. Bot. France, 51:114, 115. - D. indica, Decne. (Pyrus indica, Wall. D. Griffithiana, Decne.). Small tree: leaves ovate to oblong-lanceolate, entire or serrulate, lobed in young plants, woolly while young, finally glabrescent, 2-4 in. long: fruit subglobose, 1-1 1/2 in. across. E. Himalayas. Wallich, PI. As. Rar. 2:173. - The closely related D. Hookeriana has larger leaves and elongated fruit Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris. 10:15.