Although there exist more than 4,000 varieties of pears, only few are cultivated to be marketed, showing different shapes and colours, as well as taste and texture. Some of the most important are " Williams", " Blanquilla’ and " Passacrassana’, among others.
Almost all the modern varieties date from the XVIIIth century.
There are small fruits such as the asian pear, which are hard and inedible, or fruit of great quality from the European common pear varieites. These differences go along with those shown within the same variety when it is cultivated in different areas.
Among the most important marketed varieties we mention the following (the months in which they are consumed refer to the N hemisphere):
Williams: This variety is original from England, and it is also called Bartelet, Guillaume, Barnet Williams, Delavault, Charles durieux, Doyenne Clément. The fruit is pear-shaped, symmetrical and of average size. The skin is golden yellow when ripe. The pulp is fine, with a lot of water, very sweet and aromatic. It is consumed in August and September, until October if it is kept in cold storage rooms. It is a dessert pear, although it is also distilled.
Passacrassana: Original from France. This fruit is flattened and symmetrical, of great size and of yellowish green colour. The pulp is granular, juicy and with a lot of water, sweet and sometimes astringent. It is consumed from December until April if it is kept in storage rooms. It is a dessert pear.
Mantecosa Hardy: It also comes from France, and it is sometimes called Hardy or Gellerts Butterbine. This fruit is short and asymmetric, of average size. The skin is of greenish yellow colour, with rough brown spots. The pulp has fine grains, it is tender, juicy, sweet and aromatic. It is consumed as dessert fruit from August until the beginning of October or even later.
Mantecosa Clairgeau: It is a more or less elongate pear, of large size. The skin is copper-red on yellow background. It is consumed as dessert fruit, from October-November until February.
Mantecosa Alexandre Lucas: French variety of great size, yellow colour, with an orange side where it has been exposed to the sun. The pulp is tender and juicy. It is consumed fresh from the end of October until the beginning of November or January if it is kept in store rooms.
Decana del Comicio: It is original from France, flattened and pear-shaped, of great to very great size. Its skin is of straw-yellow colour, pink where it has been exposed to the sun. The pulp is fine, sweet and with a lot of water. It is consumed from October until November as dessert fruit.
Packham"s triumph: Originating from Australia, with irregular shape and multiple protuberances. The skin is yellow when ripe. The pulp is fine and juicy, slightly acid, hardly sweet and watery. It is found from October until January. It is consumed as dessert fruit.
Conference: English variety, elongate and of average size. The skin is very thick, of greenish yellow colour with orange-reddish spots. The pulp is fine and aromatic, juicy, sweet and full of water. It is consumed from October until February as dessert fruit.
Buen Crsitiano William"s: Large fruit with a wide, irregular base. The skin is bright and of a greenish colour that changes to lemon yellow. The pulp is white, juicy, sweet and perfumed. It is sold from September onwards.
Doctor Jules Guyot (lemon-shaped): this fruit is thick and slightly irregular. The skin is even and yellow with spots, acquiring a reddish colour it has been exposed to the sun. The pulp is fine, juicy, sweet and perfumed. It is consumed from July-August onwards.
Buena Luisa de Avranches: Pear of good size and pear-shaped. The skin is smooth and of green-pinky yellow colour, with multiple spots. The meat is juicy and sweet, slightly acid and aromatic. It is marketed from September onwards.
Blanca de Aranjuez (Blanquilla): it is the first national variety of pears. It is an average size fruit. The skin is smooth, fine, bright and of greenish colour. The meat is juicy and pleasant, with a very small heart. It is harvested in August-September .
De Roma: Medium to large size, flattened and irregular. Rough skin, of greenish colouring changing to yellow in maturation. The meat is white-yellowish, extremely juicy and sweet. It matures in winter.
Abate Fetel: fruit of large size and elongate shape. The pulp and the juice are very sweet. It is available from September to February (coming from Europe) and from April until June (South Africa)
Anjou: one of the most extended varieties in the United States. The skin is of green to yellowish-green colour, even in complete maturation. Sweet, tasteful fruit full of juice. It is available from October to May.
Clapp"s favourite: large size fruit of regular shape; green colour, with reddish tones in the area exposed to the sun. The pulp is extremely fleshy and juicy. It is consumed from July to September.
Gieser Wildeman: quite a small pear, of yellowish-brown colour, used for cooking. The meat tends to be soft and gritty and it turns into a reddish colour when it is cooked. It is available from October to the end of February.
Morettini: it is an summer variety original from Italy. The fruits are elongate, of yellowish green colour. The meat is of white-yellowish colour, fleshy and delicious. It is found in the markets from July to mid of September.
Nelis: small and round pear of green skin. Widely cultivated in the United States, it is available from October until May.
Seckle: it is the smallest of all pears, almost round, with a yellow colour skin that changes to reddish when ripe. The meat is yellow. In the United States it is marketed from January until June.
Supertrévoux: variety developed in the Netherlands. It is a large pear, with a brown-reddish tone on yellow background. It is conserved for a short time, so it is only available for three or four weeks in mid August.
Triunfo de Vienna: French variety, cultivated nowadays in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. t is usually a large fruit that may weigh 500g. The fruit is almost symmetrical, of green skin with copper specks. The pulp is sweet and fleshy. It is available from September to October.
The European quality standards make a distinction between large and small fruits. An annex lists all the large pears: " Abbé Fétel", " Alexandrine Douillard", " Beurré Alexandre Lucas", " Beurré de Aremberg", " Beurré Clairgeua’, " Beurré Diel", " Beurré Lebrun", " Catillac", " Curé ", " Devoe’, " Don Guido’, " Doyenné d"hivern", " Doyenné du comicé, " Duchesse d"Angoulême’, " Empereur Alexandre’, " Flor de invierno’, " General Leclerc", " Grand champion", ‘Jeanne d"Arc", " Marguerite Marillat", " Packham"s Triumph", " Passacrassana’, " Président Drouart", " Souvenir du Congrès", " Triomphe de Vienne’ and William"s Duchess".