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Callery Pear

Bradford Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’): Is it really Sterile?

A native of Korea and China, this, now ubiquitous horticultural tree, was first grown from seeds by the USDA Plant Introduction Station in 1963. It is very easy to grow and transplant, has white flowers in spring, leafs out early, holds its leaves well into autumn and has good color in late November. It also resists disease and insects. No wonder it is grown and planted so widely. There is also a story, apparently believed by many landscape architects, that it does not produce viable fruit, in other words, that it is sterile. So no worries about it being invasive, right?

Well, unfortunately, it is not at all sterile. Most individual trees produce crops of small, brown fruit the seeds of which are quite viable. Evidence of this can be seen along Route 440 in south Staten Island in New […]

Introductory Notes

Plants of Suburbia, Botanical Stories

The purpose of the site is to present short essays about plants and ecology found in the urban and suburban environs of the greater New York City metropolitan area, mostly along the New York to Philadelphia corridor. This includes woodlands, old fields, garden weeds, unmowed roadsides, swamps, marshes, wet ditches, and other natural areas

The New York City region is ideal for this purpose as it encompasses natural areas with a wide variety of habitats, including seashore, outer and inner coastal plain, and rocky New England upland. New York City alone is home to some 1200 plant species, both native and exotic, with overlapping ranges from Canada to Central America. Thus it has interest far outside the City’s boundaries.

For instance red maple (Acer rubrum), which is a common forest tree, is native from Newfoundland to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas. Boxelder (Acer negundo) […]