Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana)

Quick facts and care essentials

• Deciduous
• Climate zones 2-9, 14-21, 28, 31-41
• Full sun
• Regular to moderate water
• Growth rate moderate

Callery pear is grown for the clustered pure white blooms that appear in very early spring (and may be nipped by late freezes in cold areas). The dark green leaves are attractive, too: they're broad, scallop-edged ovals 1 ½ to 3 inches long. The tree reaches 25 to 50 feet tall and has a strong horizontal branching pattern.

The named selections offered by nurseries are improvements on the species, which tends to be thorny. One available variety is 'Aristocrat', a pyramidal tree (to 36 feet tall, 16 feet wide) with upward-curving branches and yellow to red fall color; it is susceptible to fireblight. A fireblight-resistant choice is 'Chanticleer', a narrow pyramid 40 feet tall and 15 feet wide, with fall color ranging from orange to reddish purple.

These trees aren't fussy about soil type, even growing well in heavy clay, but they don't do their best in shallow soil.