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Tree to 15 m. Branchlets unarmed or rarely spiny, grey-tomentose when young. Buds densely tomentose. Leaves deciduous, 4–11.5 × 1.5–4 cm, lanceolate, upper surface green and glabrous, lower surface glabrous or with pubescence on the veins, margins crenate to serrulate, apex long-acuminate; petiole 1.5–5 cm long; stipules caducous. Corymbs multiflowered; pedicels 2–4 cm long, tomentose. Flowers white, 2–2.5 cm diameter; sepals triangular-oblong, margins glandular, petals oblong to ovate. Pomes solitary or in pairs, yellowish green, subglobose to pyriform, 2.5–3 cm diameter. Schönbeck-Temesy 1969. Distribution AFGHANISTAN; KYRGYZSTAN; TAJIKISTAN; UZBEKISTAN. Habitat Mountains between 1000 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 5. Conservation status Critically Endangered, due to its occurrence in tiny fragmented populations, with damage from overgrazing and overharvesting. Illustration NT683, NT689. Cross-reference K75.
Despite its apparent rarity in the wild, Pyrus korshinskyi is an important rootstock for domestic pears in the central Asian countries (the ’Stans) where it is said to be more drought-tolerant and have greater disease resistance than the other local contender, P. regelii (National Germplasm Repository 2008). Growers looking no further than this prosaic use, however, will be deprived of a truly superb autumn foliage plant. This is its chief ornamental value, although as with all these pears, the flowers and fruits are modestly charming. Outside the fruit-tree collections it is rare, and the only example observed for New Trees grows at Kew. A rounded, 6 m tall specimen with a rough-barked trunk, this was ablaze in scarlet foliage in early November 2007, rivalling any other tree in the garden. Amongst this brilliance the curiously warty pears were hardly visible. This individual was received from the Kórnik Arboretum, Poland, in 1949.