This small tree, with very attractive glossy 3-inch leaves, broadly oval and with a point, puts on a good display of white blossom in spring, but bears only minute pears. At Stanford it normally does not drop its leaves in winter, but many did in the unusual freeze of December 1972, as did the Chinese elms. In December the first flowers appear, and the first week of January the trees are in full bloom, offering the only sign of approaching spring. By contrast, as late as March or April, the ashes, birches, erythrinas, catalpas, liquidambars, London planes, and pistaches are conspicuous on campus by their reluctance to venture even new leaves, let alone flowers.
A row of five is on the north side of Braun Music Center. Four specimens grew on the northwest corner of Dinkelspiel Auditorium, reduced to a lone survivor as of Oct 2008, which was in turn removed at some point before 2011, and replaced by several Canary Island pines (Pinus canariensis).
The common pear (Pyrus communis) can be found in private campus gardens.
Name derivation: Pyrus – the Latin name for pear; kawakamii – town in central Japan
About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Dinkelspiel location updated Apr 2017 (SP).