US suffers from invasion of invasive pears

(ORDO NEWS) — Invasive species – those that spread outside their natural range – are a serious environmental problem.

It looks like Calleri’s pear (Pyrus calleryana) will now add to the list of malignant invasive plants. It is an ornamental tree native to Asia that has gone out of control in some US states.

When discussing global environmental problems, biological invasions are rarely mentioned. However, their danger to natural ecosystems (including the reduction of biodiversity) is very high.

The spread of invasive species is associated with human activity – its economic activity and transport – and already has a rich and long history.

Among the most malicious invasive plants are Sosnowsky’s hogweed, which leaves burns, and American maple, and rheinutria brought from the Far East.

Of course, a variety of countries and continents are subject to invasions, and the list of “problem species” is constantly updated.

Another unpleasant situation is associated with a very beautiful decorative and fruity species – Calleri pear (Pyrus calleryana).

It does not hurt to recall that the pear genus includes many species, not all of them have been domesticated (like the common pear Pyrus communis) and have quite tasty fruits.

So, the Calleri pear has nondescript fruits that are only one centimeter in size. But this slender tree five to eight meters high looks beautiful in gardens and blooms in spring with large flowers.

The decorativeness of the Calleri pear, along with its unpretentiousness and fast growth, made this tree native to China and Vietnam very popular in the United States.

The Asian pear first appeared on the North American continent at the beginning of the last century.

It was readily planted in gardens and parks and was considered an excellent crop until the 1990s and especially in the second half of the 2000s, the pear showed its invasive potential.

The tree began to quickly capture various natural ecosystems – from swampy lowlands to abandoned fields.

Pear Calleri sometimes forms dense and very tenacious thickets – such have already been noted in 25 states of the USA.

The most acute situation has developed in Ohio, so local authorities have begun an active fight against the invasive species. They decided to ban the sale of seedlings of a difficult crop starting in 2023.

Biologist from the local University of Cincinnati Teresa Culley (Theresa Culley) especially emphasizes how difficult it is to deal with a pear where it has already settled.

The tree tolerates drought, waterlogging, shading and high light equally well.

“In addition, seedlings of pear trees are increasingly noted in the undergrowth. And they are extremely difficult to remove because of the very long roots, the scientist admits.

“Basically, they can grow anywhere. These trees produce many flowers that attract a variety of pollinators. As a result, we also have an abundance of fruits that are distributed by birds.

It seems that soon other states will join the fight against a beautiful but dangerous tree – already in 2024, the same ban on the sale of Calleri pear seedlings awaits South Carolina.

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