Pyrus melanocarpa (Michx.) Willd.

Pyrus melanocarpa plant

Family - Rosaceae

Stems - To +2m tall, multiple from base, woody, branching. New seasons growth lanate-tomentose, green, becoming purplish-brown with maturity.

Pyrus melanocarpa stem

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate, stipulate. Stipules at base of new leaves, 3mm long, linear. Petiole to 5mm long, lanate-tomentose. Blade obovate to elliptic, serrulate, acute to acuminate, deep green above, paler below, to +7cm long, +4cm broad, glabrous above but with dark red glands on midrib, lanate to pubescent below.

Pyrus melanocarpa leaves

Inflorescence - Termnal cymose panicle on new seasons growth, to 5cm broad, +5cm long, appearing with the new seasons leaves. Pedicels densely lanate, +/-1cm long.

Flowers - Corolla rotate, 1.5cm broad. Petals 5, white, clawed, glabrous. Claw to 1.2mm long. Limb orbicular, 5mm in diameter. Stamens +/-20. Filaments white, glabrous, 4mm long, anthers pinkish to rose, .9mm long and broad. Style 5-parted, reddish-brown at apex, whitish below, 4mm long. Ovary inferior, 5-locular. Receptacle lanate. Hypanthium -2mm long(tall), 3.5mm broad, campanulate, lanate. Sepals 5, 2mm long, 2mm broad at base, triangular. Fruits deep brownish-red to black, globose, 5-8mm in diameter, many seeded.

Pyrus melanocarpa flowerFlower close-up.

Pyrus melanocarpa hypanthiumHypanthium and sepals.

Pyrus melanocarpa fruitsPersistent fruits.

Flowering - April - July.

Habitat - Low woods, moist to wet ground, also cultivated.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species is widely cultivated throughout Missouri but is found wild in only one southeastern county. It is an easy species to identify because of its showy flower clusters and blackish fruits. The fruits aren't really eaten much by wild animals, hence you will find them on the tree after the leaves have fallen and well into winter.

Photographs taken in Columbia, MO., 4-21-04.


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