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Red-purple Pear Identification

 
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Can anyone help identify this pear? It's from our neighbor's tree and they got it over 30 years ago from an old orchard in northern Idaho. Pears are not supposed to grow well here in our cold valley of north Idaho but it's breaking it's branches with fruit. I haven't been able to identify it looking online. Our zone is designated 6a but the nights are very cool during the summer (got to 40F in late July and 38F in August).

The pears are dessert-type and very sweet. The color is dark, dusky red to purplish. They are a bit lumpy too which is interesting. I am planning to save and plant as many seeds as I can to see what we can get but I'd like to know what type of pear it is.

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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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That looks a lot like a Red Anjou pear. You didn't mention it but most of this species will have undertones of citrus flavonoids.
It is the only red pear that is winter hardy that I know of.

addendum: there is also the US pear from stark bros. that came into being in 1956 called the Starkrimson, but it is not as cold hardy and is a summer bearing pear.
The skin of this one turns from deep crimson to bright crimson when it ripens and the skin is very thin (as pear skin goes).
 
Robin Katz
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Thank you Bryant. Red Anjou must be it although the pears are not as refined looking as the ones I saw online and the almost purplish color on some of the fruit seemed unusual. That might just be a growth characteristic unique to the tree or local conditions.

I appreciate the feedback.
 
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I was going to guess Red Anjou, but those really don't look like it. The lumpiness and that heavy, waxy-looking bloom are both different. You might have something unique there. I'd love to get some cuttings so I could try growing it here.
 
Robin Katz
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Ellendra, I may ask my neighbor about getting cuttings in the near future. We're just getting to know them and I hesitate to ask a lot right away since they were so generous with the pears, but I am sure eyeing that tree with interest, especially since it's a proven, consistent producer in this area.

Is there a forum for swapping seeds, cuttings, etc.?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Our Red Anjou puts off pears that look very similar to those in your photos.

Redhawk
 
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I don't know if this is true for all cold-hardy species, but I have noticed that in a lot of plant groups, purple indicates an adaptation to the cold, or sometimes dry cold. I have found this to be the case in tomatoes, brassicas, and cannabis. I would love to know, incidentally, if there's a biochemical reason for it.

That does look like a Red Anjou.

-CK
 
Robin Katz
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I appreciate everyone's feedback. As these little beauties ripen, they seem to lose some of the purple and become more reddish-orange. Not a huge change, but noticeable when compared to a less ripe pear. The interior is creamy white, juicy, and sweet. It's one of the best pears I've every eaten.

I like the question about the purple coloration being a response to cold. A quick check online and I found a reference to sugar and anthocyanin production increasing in response to warm days and cool but not freezing nights. That describes August here perfectly.

Another reference studying mangoes showed that fruits with high anthocyanin levels in the peel resulted in measurable resistance to cold and pathogen damage (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0925521415300818). Nature is amazing.

 
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Chris Kott wrote:I don't know if this is true for all cold-hardy species, but I have noticed that in a lot of plant groups, purple indicates an adaptation to the cold, or sometimes dry cold. I have found this to be the case in tomatoes, brassicas, and cannabis. I would love to know, incidentally, if there's a biochemical reason for it.
.....
-CK


Anthocyanins are responsible biochemically for the purple/red to blue and the hues in-between, depending on cell pH.  I think you mean the leaves/stems that may accumulate anthocyanins under different kinds of abiotic/biotic stress (incl. cold, heat, or drought), but the red/purple pigmentation of fruit is a different story. The solid fruit color's more of a (permanent) genetic trait than a phenotypic exhibit or a sign of adaptation. The red mutations of the pear varieties (e.g., Williams[Bartlett], Clapp's Favorite/Star Crimson, Anjou) do not make the red/purple fruited trees any hardier than the common colored original variety.    
 
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