Weeping Willow-leafed Pear

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The Weeping Willow-leafed Pear (Pyrus salicifolia) is a weeping shaped, deciduous tree native to the middle east and eastern europe. It can be found in woodland and stony areas. P. salicifolia can grow up to 25 feet, however the weeping variety commonly reaches 15 feet. It is hermaphroditic and has white flowers with five petals in the spring and pear-like, green, inedible fruits in the summer. This tree has extensive roots which can help prevent erosion, but it is also very vulnerable to fireblight.
Daniela Lee and Anusha Bishop
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
2.80 m
Diameter at breast height: 
2.50 m

There are too many multiple trunks to accurately measure the DBH, so this is just an estimate
Branches: Smooth brown bark Trunk: and rough bark with vertical plates that are peeling in some areas
Twigs & branches
Branches and twigs of this tree hang down in a weeping form. The bark of the branches is smoother than that of the trunk. The tips of some of the branches have buds.
Lanceolate (short slender) light green leaves with pinnate venation (prominent central vein).
Reproductive Structures
White flowers with five petals that appear in the spring.
Pear-shaped, gray-green colored, and inedible.
  • Winter
  • Winter
  • FIrst buds of spring time
  • Spring
  • Developed buds of spring time
Natural range of distribution: 
Native to the Middle East, willow-leaf pear trees will grow most optimally in moist, well-drained soil with full sun. These trees can tolerate some shade and withstand some drought, however. They typically grow in clay, loamy, or sandy soil that contain levels of acid widely ranging from highly acidic to highly alkaline. Its spreading root system allows the willow-leaf pear tree to grow well on infertile or moderately fertile sandy soil. Moreover, cool summer climates are most preferable.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The Willow-leafed Pear is native to the middle east and eastern Europe (Plant Finder - Pyrus salicifolia). It’s weeping branches, white flowers, and long silvery leaves make it a common ornamental tree. The weeping variety of this tree first began being cultivated during the 1850s in Germany and it remains a popular ornamental tree today (Plant Finder - Pyrus salicifolia).

The weeping willow-leaf pear tree is a four season plant. The tree flowers in early spring (around March). Pink-tipped buds open to flowers that have white petals and are organized in a dense corymb structure, where the outermost flowers are born on stems longer than inner flowers in order to bring all flowers up to a common level. Weeping willow-leaf pear trees bear pear-like blooms and becomes slightly fragrant. In the spring, the tree also starts developing silver/gray foliage, which appear as narrow, willow-like leaves. During the summer, the tree develops gray/silver/green foliage, as well as a weeping habit. In the fall, the tree exhibits a weeping habit and brown/green fruit. Deciduous weeping willows will start to drop leaves from fall to spring. Once winter arrives, the tree maintains its weeping habit and lacks foliage.

ArgoAtlas (2005). [Map illustration of species distribution data obtained from the database of species locations, the Information Retrieval System]. Distribution Area of Willow-leaf pear – Pyrus salicifolia Pall. Retrieved from http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/related/Pyrus_salicifolia/map/index.html

Plant Finder - Pyrus salicifolia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=263988&isprofile=0&

Pyrus salicifolia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pyrus salicifolia

Wells, M. T. “Yale Nature Walk” Project:, Laboratory 4 2018; Yale University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: New Haven, 2018
Other information of interest: 
  • Typically grown as an ornamental tree, as they are very large woody plants that are truly a silver color.
  • Fruit is pear-shaped and grey-green, but inedible.
  • Susceptible to fire blight, which is a destructive disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora
  • Gardening tips: dark green, blue, and silver make good color partners while gold, purple, and orange make good color contrasts
Media and Arts
Yale Nature Walk: Weeping Willow-leafed Pear Tree