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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 9 | Rosaceae | Pyrus

1. Pyrus nivalis Jacquin, Fl. Austriac. 2: 4, plate 107. 1774.

Snow pear

Pyrus austriaca A. Kerner; P. eriopleura Reichenbach; P. salviifolia de Candolle

Plants 50–200 dm. Branches white-tomentose when young, later blackish; thorns usually absent. Leaves: petiole 1–2 cm, tomentose; blade obovate, 5–9 × 3–4 cm, base cuneate, decurrent, margins entire or slightly crenulate, apex acute or short-acuminate, abaxial surface densely whitish gray pubescent, adaxial sparsely pubescent. Pedicels 3–6 cm, tomentose-lanate. Flowers 35–45 mm diam.; sepals triangular, 6–8 × 3–4 mm, apex acuminate; petals white, obovate-elliptic, 14–16 × 12–14 mm; ovaries 5-locular; styles 5. Pomes yellowish green with purple dots, globose, 30–50 mm diam.; sepals persistent.

Flowering Apr. Old fields; 50–200 m; introduced; Md., Wash.; Europe.

In the flora area, Pyrus nivalis possibly is only persisting after cultivation. The species is native to central and south-central Europe. Some specimens of common pears are called snow pears because of the abundant white flowers; the true snow pear also has whitish foliage as a result of the persistent indument on the abaxial surface of the leaf.

Pyrus elaeagnifolia Pallas, differing from P. nivalis in styles villous to the middle instead of only at the base, smaller fruit 2–3 cm, and often narrower lanceolate or narrowly elliptic leaves, would key here. It is occasionally cultivated but not yet definitely known as an escape.


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