What’s that tree with the white flowers?

The Flowering Pear tree blooms in Feb-March

Three Flowering Pear Trees blooming in front of a building

Cheerful white flowers are blooming now in late winter on the Flowering Pear.

This tree is widely planted in our area because it grows fast, has showy flowers and fall color

Bright fall colors on a Flowering Pear Tree

While this tree has many positive attributes, you might want to think twice before planting one.

Flowering Pears usually grow with very crowded branches. Having all of the branches attached to the trunk at the same place leads to structural weakness. It is not uncommon to see Flowering Pears with major branch "blow outs" after wind events. Careful pruning when young can help the tree build a stronger scaffold.


Flowering Pear tree with damage where branches broke out
Pyrus calleryana fruit Creative Commons s

Fruit production can be a challenge in some settings. This tree will set small, round fruit 1/2"-1" across. While not edible, the moist fruit can be a mess in the fall. And the seeds can sprout forming thickets of pear trees.

The flowers have a strong scent that many people find "stinky", while the others do not notice at all. Of course, the flowers only last for about 2 weeks so for 50 weeks you won't have any odor problem.

Branch of Flowering Pear in bloom

The Flowering Pear is really pretty when it blooms in the early spring, and ornamental in the fall when the leaves turn colors, but we don't recommend it because of it's problems. So, consider choosing a different tree for your landscape from our Recommended Trees for Roseville list. To learn even more about this tree and other trees, check out CalPoly's Selectree.