This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Trees or shrubs. Leaves deciduous, simple or pinnate; stipules deciduous. Flowers white, pink, or rose, in terminal cymes. Fruit fleshy, 2- to 5-celled, cells 1- or 2-seeded, cartilaginous. Between thirty and forty species are known, all of temperate and cold regions of the northern hemisphere. It is the Latin name of the Pear Tree. The Apple, Pear, Medlar, Service and Quince are all referred to this genus by some botanists. Some of the species are highly ornamental, and even the Apple and Pear trees may be classed in this category.
1. P. spectdbilis. Chinese Crab (fig. 93). - This is the handsomest of this section, and very conspicuous in Spring from the abundance of its rosy pink or nearly white flowers. Leaves oblong-lanceolate or elliptical, finely serrated, acute, glabrous above, slightly hairy beneath, veins prominent, petiole slender, stipules small. Fruit spherical, about an inch in diameter, on long slender peduncles. A native of China. There are several varieties, that called flovi-bunda being perhaps the best. Alba plena has double white flowers; and there are two or three Japanese varieties of weeping habit. P. Sinensis of gardens is the same thing.
2. P. prunifolia. Siberian Crab.- A very ornamental tree of small dimensions. Leaves oblong, obovate, or nearly rotundate, serrate, often, oblique at the base, glabrescent; petioles relatively long. Fruit depressed at the base, on long slender peduncles, and crowned by the persistent calyx-lobes. There are several handsome varieties, differing in the size and colour of the fruit, from scarlet and yellow to green and variously striped.
3. P. coronaria. American Crab. - A small tree with oval or ovate leaves rounded at the base, irregularly toothed or lobed, and ultimately glabrous. Flowers corymbose, pink and white, rather large and fragrant; petals distinctly clawed. Fruit small, green, concave at the base. North America.
4. P. baccata, including P. cevasifera. Cherry Crab. - This differs in its varieties from the Siberian Crab in the very glabrous glossy leaves and usually smaller fruit, from which the calyx-lobes fall early, giving it a naked appearance. This is also a native of Northern Asia.
Fig. 93. Pyrus spectabilis. (1/4 nat. size.)
5. P. torminalis. Wild Service. - A small indigenous tree. Leaves glabrescent, ovate or cordate, more or less deeply lobed. Flowers corymbose, small, white. Fruit globose or pear-shaped, brown.
6. P. Aria. White Beam Tree. - A shrub or small tree, very variable in foliage. Leaves lobed, pinnatifid or pinnate at the base, with a dense flocculent down on the under surface. Flowers in loose corymbs, small, white. Fruit spherical, half an inch in diameter, red or scarlet.
7. P. Aucuparia. Mountain Ash or Rowan Tree. - An elegant native tree of small dimensions. Leaves imparipinnate, with about 7 or 9 oblong serrate leaflets. Flowers small, white, in large terminal dense corymbs. Fruit small, globose, scarlet. The scarlet berries of this tree, which are usually borne in great abundance, render it highly attractive towards Autumn.
8. P. domestica. True Service. - Very much like the preceding, but the buds are smooth, the flowers panicled, and the fruit larger and pear-shaped or obovate.
P. Japonica (fig. 94), syn. Cyddnia or Chcenomeles Japo-nica. - This is one of the most ornamental of early-flowering shrubs, its brilliant scarlet flowers appearing in great profusion towards the end of Winter, before the leaves are developed. It is also remarkable for the leafy kidney-shaped stipules. Besides the common variety, which is perhaps the best, there is a white, a flesh, a red bordered with white, a semi-double, and several other varieties.
Fig. 94. Pyrus Japonica. (1/6 nat. size.)