These crisp, juicy "salad pears" are radically different from the European pears with which most of us are acquainted. Culture is different, too: "Nashi" tend to overcrop, so thinning is almost always necessary; the trees tend to runt out, stop growing. We think that Asian pears require really strong root systems, and we've shifted most of our Nashi tree-making to Pyrus betulifolia (BET).
SHINSUI Early-ripening nashi with outstanding flavor. Medium sized. Beautiful orange-yellow skin. Moderately susceptible to fire blight. Precocious and very productive at Geneva. Dad's favorite.
HOSUI From Japanese breeding program, introduced in 1972; (Kikusui x Yakumo) x Yakumo. This is the the best-flavored of all the Asian pears! Sugar content usually 12 brix or higher but more tart in the North. It is an early season, russet type with a round globular shape and yellow to brownish-yellow skin, heavily russeted. It has a long storage life. The tree is vigorous, willowy and spreading. Good resistance to pear scab disease. Susceptible to fire blight. I always pick four at a time because three is not enough, and I can't stop eating them!
CHOJURO Found in 1895 in Japan, chance seedling of Pyrus pyrifolia. A brown to orange, russet-skinned early-midseason variety with high sugar content. White flesh; crisp; slightly aromatic;butterscotch flavor. Moderately gritty in some seasons. Fruit medium to large size, often nearly a pound; roundish, somewhat flattened. Good winter keeper. Moderately susceptible to fire blight;apparently resistant to pear scab and Alternaria black spot. Tree is precocious and productive.
NIITAKA. Large fruit, yellow and brown-russetted; coarse texture. Bland flavor. Fire blight susceptible.
KOSUI From a Kikusui x Wase-Kozo cross, introduced in Japan in 1959. High quality. Medium size;skin mostly russetted, light green to yellow-bronze. Resistant to Alternaria black-spot and moderately resistant to pear scab. Moderately productive. Regarded by many as highest quality of Asian pears.
20th CENTURY (Nijisseiki) A mid-season variety, with uniform size, and sweet, slightly tart, firm and very juicy flesh. It has a globular lopsided shape and yellow green color. Good storage: 4 to 5 months in the refrigerator. Semi-spur habit. This variety has performed well at Littletree Orchards. Quite susceptible to pear scab and fire blight. It has been our most consistent cropper of high quality fruit under very strenuous conditions
SHINKO Seedling of Nijisseiki, selected in Japan. Introduced in 1941. Distinctive rich, sweet flavor. Fruit medium to large size. Attractive golden russet skin; firm, crisp flesh. Ripens mid-October in New York. Fine winter keeper. Very productive. Much less susceptible to fireblight than most asian pears. Relatively low chilling: about 500 chill units.
OLYMPIC (KOREAN GIANT). Very large, attractive fruit, orange with russet coat. Crisp, sweet and juicy. Excellent tolerance to fire blight. One of the more cold-hardy nashi. October ripening; good storage.
TSE LI Large, very sweet fruit; almost no acid; aromatic; should be stored for a while before eating -- not edible right off the tree. Typical pear shape. Excellent for storage. Complex hybrid of Pyrus ussuriensis x (P. bretschneideri). Blooms very early, so is especially susceptible to late spring frosts; Ya Li is appropriate pollenizer. Some fire blight tolerance; seems to be damaged less by insects than Japanese varieties.
YA LI A old Chinese variety of very good quality, ripening a month after 20th Century. Pyrus ussuriensis. Large fruit. Somewhat tolerant of fire blight (probably because of early bloom time). Vigorous grower. Blooms very early, so frost susceptible -- 4 or 5 days earlier than Japanese varieties. Low chilling: only about 200 chill units. Exceptionally attractive foliage, turning red in autumn.
YOINASHI A high quality new variety for the long September gap between Hosui and Shinko. Ripens mid to late September. Fruit is large, orange-brown, with a russeted finish. Flesh is crisp, richly aromatic, firm. Tree is upright and medium in vigor. Yoinashi is resistant to Pseudomonas and tolerant to fire blight.
SHIN LI.--Hybrid between Japanese variety Kikusui and Tse Li, bred at University of California-Davis. Introduced in 1988, plant patent 6076. Fine-textured, crisp, juicy, sweet. Fruit light green. Goode storage. Resistant to fire blight. Early bloom. Not yet acquired.
DAISUI LI.--Another UC-Davis hybrid: Japanese Kikusui x Chinese Tse Li. Fruit large to very large, more pyriform than most Asian varieties. Skin light green, smooth; flesh white, crisp, juicy, sweet; aromatic. Excellent storage. Tree very vigorous. Not yet acquired.