Pyrus pyrifolia is a pear tree species native to China, Japan, and Korea. The tree's edible fruit is known by many names, including: Asian pear,Chinese pear,Korean pear, Japanese pear,Taiwan pear, and sand pear. Along with cultivars of P. × bretschneideri and P. ussuriensis, the fruit is also called the nashi pear. Despite being colloquially known as an apple pear due to its appearance and texture, the fruit is not a hybrid of the two.
Cultivars derived from Pyrus pyrifolia are grown throughout East Asia, and in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (e.g., California). Traditionally in East Asia the tree's flowers are a popular symbol of early spring, and it is a common sight in gardens and the countryside.
The fruits are not generally baked in pies or made into jams because they have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture, very different from the buttery European varieties. They are commonly served raw and peeled. The fruit tends to be quite large and fragrant, and when carefully wrapped (it has a tendency to bruise because of its juiciness), it can last for several weeks or more in a cold, dry place.
In Korea, the fruit is grown and consumed in great quantity. In the South Korean city of Naju, there is a museum called The Naju Pear Museum and Pear Orchard for Tourists (나주 배 박물관 및 배밭 관광체험).
In Nepal and the Himalayan states of India, they are called nashpati and are cultivated as a cash crop in the Middle Hills between about 1,500 and 2,500 meters’ elevation where the climate is suitable. The fruit are carried to nearby markets by human porters or, increasingly, by truck, but not for long distances because they bruise easily.
In Taiwan, pears harvested in Japan have become luxurious presents since 1997 and their consumption has jumped.
In Cyprus, the pears were introduced in 2010 after initially being investigated as a new fruit crop for the island in the early 1990s. They are currently grown in Kyperounta.
Cultivars are classified in two groups. Most of the cultivars belong to the Akanashi ('red pears') group, and have brownish-yellow rinds. The Aonashi ('green pears') have yellow-green rinds.