The common pear tree is most recognizable by its fruit, but can be identified any time of the year by looking at other characteristics. When identifying trees, people normally examine a variety of parts of the tree, including the leaves, fruit, flowers and bark. Aside from the common pear tree, there are two other types of pear trees--the bradford pear and the callery pear. These trees are closely related to the common pear tree, but have some small variances that set them apart.
Common Pear Tree Leaves
The leaves of the common pear tree are broad, flat leaves with a symmetrical rounded base. The edge of these leaves are lined with tiny "double teeth," meaning that there is a slight saw-like edge with the teeth grouped into pairs. These leaves are smooth underneath and have a glossy tone on top. They are simple leaves, meaning that they are all one section and do not have any lobes. They grow one per stem and will not be found growing in a cluster.
Common Pear Tree Fruit
The fruit found on a common pear tree is much like the pears that can be bought at the grocery store. It has a round shape and does not grow in any type of husk, pod or capsule. The fruit is a minimum of 1 inch in diameter, but can grow much larger. When cut open, you will find small seeds, no longer than 1/4 inch long. On the tree you will find them growing loosely and not packed tightly together.
Common Pear Tree Bark
When examining the bark of a tree for identification purposes, botanists look at two qualities--color and texture. The bark of the common pear tree is grey-brown in color, but the texture changes over time. As a seedling, the bark will be exceptionally smooth, but as the tree matures, it develops a rougher texture. A mature pear tree will have a very scaly texture.
Common Pear Tree Flowers
The small flowers of the common pear tree will appear in early to mid spring, either along with or just after the new spring leaves appear. These white flowers are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter and are quite pretty. Unlike the fruit itself, the flowers grow in clusters.
Other Pear Trees
The main difference among the common pear, bradford pear and callery pear is their fruits, but there are also some differences in height and flowers. The bradford pear has small, pink, round fruit that grows in clusters. When cut open, these fruits have a large pit as opposed to the small seeds of a common pear tree. Bradford pears are also the shortest of the pear trees, with some maturing at a mere 25 feet. Common and callery pear trees mature closer to 40 feet. The last difference that sets the bradford pear tree apart is the flowers. The flowers of this pear tree look like other pear tree flowers, but have an unpleasant odor. As for the callery, its fruits look like those of the common pear tree, but when cut open have small seeds, like those of the common pear tree.