Pyrus kawakamii
evergreen pear

Rosaceae (Rose family)
Taiwan
Pyrus kawakamii
Pyrus kawakamii, north side of Dinkelspiel Auditorium, near White Plaza (now removed). John Rawlings, 4 Jan 2004

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 winter, 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. The first flower buds may appear in early January; later in the month, 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.

Pyrum kawakamii
Silhouette of Pyrus kawakamii leaves and fruit. From Trees of Stanford and Environs, Ronald Bracewell
Pyrum kawakamii
Pyrus kawakamii at Green Library East. John Rawlings, 4 Jan 2004

A row of five is on the north side of Braun Music Center. Note the characteristic low, spreading, irregular canopy and dark, deeply checked bark. (Opposite them, next to the Post Office, stands a Pyrus with similar leaves, kept through the winter, but with a strong upright form and with bark closer to that of P. calleryana.) Also see half a dozen evergreen pears in the raised planting area on the right as you approach the main entrance of Green Library’s East Wing.

Four specimens grew on the northwest corner of Dinkelspiel Auditorium. These were reduced to a lone survivor as of October 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.

Nomenclature note: The correct name of this species may be P. taiwanensis, given that P. kawakamii, as originally applied, was only a synonym of P. calleryana. More investigation is needed.

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). Green Library location added, all locations verified Apr 2020 by Sairus Patel. Flowering time edited; notes on bark, form, and mystery Post Office tree added; nomenclature note added (ref. Arthur Lee Jacobson) Jan 2021 by Sairus Patel.