This section is from the book "The Fruit Manual: Containing The Descriptions And Synonyms Of The Fruits And Fruit Trees Of Great Britain", by Robert Hogg. Also available from Amazon: The Fruit Manual.
This pear has given rise to much discussion, some pomologists holding that it is a distinct variety, and others that it is synonymous with Winter Bon Chretien. The advocates of the latter opinion are the most numerous. No person has had a better opportunity of solving the question than my much esteemed friend, Abbe D. Dupuy, Professor of Natural History at Auch; and in his excellent work L'Abeille Pomohgique, 1862, p. 57, he there enters very fully into the question. He says : -
"The fruit which at Auch is called Bonchrêtien d'Auch, is nothing else than the common Winter Bonchrêtien, without seeds in some gardens, and some favoured localities in the south-west; but as soon as the tree is removed to a place less suited to it the seeds reappear and it becomes the common Winter Bonchrêtien, and the same thing frequently occurs even at Auch."
In the Horticultural Society's Catalogue the same conclusion is arrived at, and no doubt the authority of Abbé Dupuy is conclusive on the point regardless of any other evidence. But I embrace this opportunity of introducing another variety under the name of Bon-Chretien d'Auch, which seems to have escaped the notice of all modern pomologists, the Bon Chrêtien d'Auch of Calvel. He says: - "This pear, like all the Bon Chretiens, has the form of a calibasse, or of a pilgrim's gourd, and is sometimes more swollen on one side than the other. Green at first, it insensibly becomes yellow by degrees as it approaches maturity. The part exposed to the sun is covered with bright vermilion, which increases its beauty. By smelling it, its perfume announces the period when it is good to be eaten. Its flesh is breaking, but of rich, sweet, and sugary juice.
"This is perhaps the largest, most beautiful, and most perfect of pears in a soil which suits it. It is only at Auch that one can form a just idea of it, and even all the environs of Auch are not equally suited to its culture. This fruit loses much of its size and quality when grafted elsewhere. Well cultivated and in good soil it is very large. I have seen it four inches diameter and more."
"The shoots are long, crooked, and pendent, of a fawn colour, dotted with grey and brownish next the sun. The buds are large, obtuse, and borne on large and prominent supports. Flowers, large; the number of the petals vary, they are well open, rather long, lightly edged with very pale red; the anthers are of a beautiful vermilion. The leaves are large, smooth, slightly pointed, of a beautiful brilliant green, slightly and regularly dentate. They become yellow almost immediately after the fruit is ripe. This pear ripens in the southern departments of France in the end of July, and nearly three weeks or a month later elsewhere, according to the climate." What can this be ? It reads very much like a description of Williams's Bon Chretien. The Winter Bon Chretien ripens in January.
Bon Chrêtien d'Automne. See Spanish Bon Chrêtien. Bon Chrêtien d'Espagne. See Spanish Bon Chrêtien.