Pyrus communis 'Kieffer' (Dwarf Pear)
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Pyrus communis, commonly referred to as the common or European pear, is a species of pair tree native to central Europe and the Middle East, from which a large variety of pear cultivars are descended. Pyrus communis typically flowers in the spring, and produces edible fruit.
The 'Kieffer' dwarf cultivar grows to between 12' and 15' tall; though other 'Kieffer' specimens may grow to up to 20' since height for commercial pear trees is dependent on root-stock. Most commercially available pear trees are actually grafted, where the rootstock is chosen for hardiness and tolerance of a wide-variety of soil conditions, and the top half of the plant is chosen for a few desirable traits. In this case, the top half of the 'Kieffer' graft was selected for its better than average tolerance of drought and flooding as well as its resistance to fire blight, a common and damaging disease of apple and pear trees.
'Kieffer' begins flowering with 5-petaled white blooms in early spring, and mature fruit set follows by early fall; the early spring bloom window of February to March is important, as pear trees rely on cross-pollination to produce fruit, so at least one nearby pear tree of a different cultivar with a similar bloom window is a necessity -- 'Moonglow' is one such cultivar. Pyrus communis flowers are attractive, fragrant, and a valuable food source to butterflies and other pollinators. 'Kieffer' pears are regarded as tasty, but a little gritty, and are recommended for baking, canning, or for use in preserves. In the fall, after fruit set, leaves turn to beautiful shades of golden bronze, adding further interest.