Aristocrat pear, known by the scientific name Pyrus calleryana, is a type of pear tree that is popular as a low-maintenance, visually appealing ornamental tree. This type of pear tree does produce edible fruit, but the pears are the size of peas and not commonly harvested. The Aristocrat pear tree is favored for use both in private gardens and city landscaping because it is fast growing, hardy, pest- and drought-resistant, and not susceptible to wind damage. This pear tree is also prized as a flowering tree, producing masses of small white flowers in spring, as well as its foliage of glossy green leaves that turn colorful shades of orange and red in fall. Aristocrat pear trees commonly grow 35-45 feet (11-14 m) high, and the crown usually spreads to a width of 30-35 feet (9-11 m).
Similar to many fruit trees, this pear tree grows best when planted in full sun. It can grow in any kind of soil, and will thrive even in poorly drained or dry areas. Aristocrat pear trees have widely spaced, thornless branches that require pruning every second year as the specimen matures. Few pests attack this type of pear tree, though it can be susceptible to boring insects. The tree blooms in early spring, and the tiny fruits commonly attract birds in late summer and fall.
In city landscaping, the Aristocrat pear tree is commonly planted along city streets, walkways, and parking lots. It tolerates smog, drought, and heat, which can be a problem for many other types of trees in these settings. Also, the roots of the Aristocrat pear tree do not spread out over a large area, making it easier to grow this pear tree where there is limited space. The lack of significant fruit makes these trees easier to manage than many other types of fruit trees that can require both harvesting and clean-up of fallen fruit.
The Aristocrat pear tree was partly developed as a replacement for a type of ornamental pear tree called Bradford pear. Bradford pear trees were very popular in private gardens and in city landscaping. However, as they matured, they became fragile and susceptible to wind damage, causing injuries and property damage. For these reasons, Bradford pear trees were banned in many cities and towns in the United States. The branches of the Aristocrat pear tree are stronger and better attached to the trunk of the tree, minimizing the risk of wind damage.