Perry Pear Conservation

The National Perry Pear collection was established to conserve a genetic resource for the nation. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture defines ‘in situ conservation’ as meaning the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties. The perry pear originated as wildings or feral pears found growing in the villages around May Hill on the borders of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The orchards of the National Perry Pear Centre provide good in situ conservation.

Conservation at the National Perry Pear Centre

As well as maintaining the nation’s collection of perry pears, the Centre also publishes research manuals and undertakes fruit trials. These activities are inevitably limited by the absence of any form of funding support.

DNA

The Hartpury Heritage Trust has commissioned the DNA profiling of the National Collection.

Pollination

The flowering times of all varieties in the collection have been recorded over a number of years. The analysis of this enables the Centre to provide planting recommendations to assist good cross-pollination.

Rootstock Trial

A trial orchard of 405 trees using 12 selected varieties on 4 different rootstocks was planted in 2015. They are being grown as bush trees, and monitored to record length of time until first commercial harvesting, weight of crop, period and ease of harvest and ultimately the quality of perry produced.  Some of the varieties have recently been rediscovered, so the perry quality is unknown.  Others are known vintage varieties. The trial should give an indication of suitability for commercial planting. It is hoped that funding can be obtained to assess the vintage quality where currently unknown.

Rootstocks seedlings