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Unformatted text preview: Pear . The pear has a story similar to that of the apple except that the domestication of the pear followed two separate paths. Pyrus communis , native to Central Asia, gave rise to the European pears characterized by intense flavors, flesh softening after the climacteric, and a wide range in sizes and shapes. The European pear is described by Homer as one of the fruits in the garden of Alcinus, and the Roman agricultural writers Cato, Varro, and especially, Pliny describe many types (Hedrick 1921). In eastern Asia, the crisp, sweet-fleshed fruit of Pyrus pyrifolia, P. bretschneiderii, and P. ussuriensis are round, aromatic, and crisp-fleshed, and now known either as Asian pears or under the Japanese name nashi (Watkins 1995; Bell et al. 1996). The pear has been known in China for 4000 years (Wang 1990). Systematic breeding of European pear was first carried out by Jean Baptiste Van Mons (17651842), a Belgian physician, pharmacist, and physicist and an early apostle of selection in...
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