Sunday, November 09, 2008

'Chanticleer' pear: all a-glow

Chanticleer pear tree:
I took this picture from my kitchen window

One of the last trees to color up is our ornamental pear tree, Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer', which I look out on from our kitchen window. It is beautiful in spring covered with white flowers, has glossy leaves all summer, and right now, it glows in the November gloom. This tree produces small, greenish-yellow fruits that aren't edible and don't have much ornamental interest either.

Flowering in spring

Here's what the Missouri Botanical Garden site has to say about ornamental pears, and this cultivar in particular:
In the 1950s, callery pear emerged in U. S. commerce as a promising new ornamental tree, leading to massive landscape plantings. By the 1980s, concerns about both overplanting and structural weakness (limb breakage from wind, ice and snow) began to surface. ‘Chanticleer’ (synonymous with and also known as ‘Cleveland Select’, ‘Select’, ‘Stone Hill’ or ‘Glen’s Form’) is considered to be one of the best of the cultivars currently available. It is a tight, narrow, pyramidal, thornless ornamental pear tree that typically grows 25-35’ tall and 15’ wide. Some specimens appear almost columnar in habit. Oval, glossy dark green leaves dance in the breeze due to long petioles. It is susceptible to limb breakage or splitting from strong wind, snow or ice, but is much stronger than some other cultivars such as P. calleryana ‘Bradford’.
Most of the trees we have planted on our property are native oaks, maples, ashes, pines and spruces, but close to the house I have planted a few ornamental pets like this pear tree. So far, so good: it's beautiful year round - it has glossy leaves in summer and a nice branching structure in winter - but I particularly love it covered with flowers in spring, and right now, as it glows with exquisite color.

© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener


  1. Some friends of mine bought me a little Cleveland Pear tree after my dad died a number of years ago. It had a hard start as the rabbits nibbled the bark until I figured out that I should cover it. (hanging my head in shame). It just finished up a bright red and now after the winds yesterday has very few leaves left. Yours is stunning Yvonne and such a lovely sight out your kitchen window.

  2. Anonymous7:53 AM

    HI: I really appreciate, medium size, well-formed attractive, and fruit tree's, of numerous kind's.
    An interesting presentation here, of 2-season's, an good page to save, esp... with onset of an new 'pear' tree to the market place.
    I/WE, have an fairly oldm maybe 40-50 yrs, 'pear tree', some 30ft. high, squeezed between 2 age'd apple tree's, we leave them at the back of city/urban lot, to provide,protection of sort's from busy street's.
    I've interspersed, several other similar fruit trees, expecting the former [3] to die, but they just hand on, and on. Those have been pruned only an few time's, so are enormous.
    But it's an dream, for me to see, study this presentation, the knowledge et al, it's lonely location yet proximity to home-view.
    These are thing's, your luxury of having an larger plot, than say, norm urban size where limit's restruct our creativity, use.
    The color and form is near artistic, not unlike yet an earlier superb presentation, adored - fothergilla gardenii, it's so hard to say, 'good-bye' to the garden's other bloom's. But, this is my way of stretching out the prime garden season - another month, now fall - [2], the computer here, extends this extra JOYfor more time.
    My favourite fruit this pear, I go on about it like an 'chanter', simply it, 'stand's' there like saying's, of an 'lonely chanson, or worthy of an naming lodge, 'chanteclear'.
    An good-by summer, hello 'Chant'. signed.. + k 'kannutipper.. [Canadian] '

  3. Anonymous9:26 AM

    Thank you. I was, at the precise moment, pondering tree choices for a client's garden. Chanticleer was on my list (along with Prunus subhirtella, Malus tschonoskii, Amelanchier lamarckii etc). Fate has intervened and Chanticleer it will be: if they complain I will refer them to you!

  4. What a great tree! You're so lucky that it provides beauty to your garden in both spring and fall. It looks lovely with that background of evergreens.

  5. Hi Yvonne
    It's beautiful - and you sometimes see them planted by the city along the streets.
    I looked at it for my garden a while back - and still consider it - but was made aware of the concerns of invasiveness of Pyrus calleryana. Researchers believe that even well-behaved garden varieties may contribute to development of invasive wild varieties by cross polination with other Pyrus in the neighbourhood. What do you think?

  6. Hi Salix: I haven't heard of them being invasive in Ontario. But there is certainly concern in the eastern US, as I discovered when I did a search after reading your comment. See

  7. More on invasiveness: I have never had to weed out a single seedling of this pear tree, whereas I'm constantly weeding out black walnuts (a native tree), and buckthorn (a non-native shrub).

  8. I remembered that there was something - not exactly what - about the "ornamental pear" and I looked it up again before I posted my comment.
    The ipetrus blogspot is interesting - here's more interesting info:
    ...more on invasiveness - is the buckthorn not considered invasive as well??

  9. Buckthorn is horribly invasive, but that battle was lost long ago. It grows wild everywhere. Nobody plants it these days, but the birds spread it everywhere. You would not believe how much buckthorn we cut down and burned when we first bought this place.


Thanks so much for visiting this site. I have a new country garden blog and I will no longer be publishing comments at this blog. If you have a question or comment about the topic here, please use the contact form at my new blog to get in touch with me.

-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener