Seckel pear tree
Seckel is the definitive heirloom American pear, with a notably sweet aromatic flavor, and a reputation as a gourmet variety.
The famous English pomologist Robert Hogg, writing in the late 19th century reported that examples were sent to England in the early 19th century, where it was very well received. He describes the flesh as "... buttery, melting, and very juicy, with a rich and unusually powerful aromatic flavour".
Although very small, the pears take on an attractive crimson flush when ripe.
If you want to grow a traditional American pear, this is the one to choose.
Seckel pear trees for sale
Medium 1-year bare-root tree
Mature height: 8ft-12ft after 10 years
How to grow
Like many antique varieties, Seckel is a tough hardy tree, and a good choice for the backyard orchard. When fire blight arose in the eastern states in the early 19th century it turned out that Seckel was one of the few pear varieties with some natural resistance.
Unusually among pears it is partially self-fertile and will set a reasonable crop without a pollination partner, but it does not seem to pollinate other varieties.
Seckel has a tendency to set too many fruits after the blossom, and it is important to thin the fruitlets in late spring.
Advice on fruit tree pollination.
Seckel was discovered was discovered in the 1760s near Philadelphia, on land owned by a Mr Seckel (or Seckle) who named it. The original tree survived into the late 19th century. It quickly became popular in both the United States and Europe.
Some have speculated that Seckel may be a chance seedling of Bartlett - it cannot cross-pollinate with that variety, which is often a sign of a close relationship, and like Bartlett it is is also partially self-fertile. However the earliest records of Bartlett in the USA are in the 1790s. For more details see this article about Seckel in the Good Fruit Grower magazine.
Seckle has good natural resistance to fire blight, and is often employed in the development of new resistant pear varieties - Blake's Pride being a typical example.
- Gardening skillBeginner
- Self-fertilityPartially self-fertile
- Pollination group4
- Pollinating othersPoor
- Bearing regularityRegular
- WildlifeRHS Plants for Pollinators
- Picking seasonLate
- UsesEating freshCulinary
- Keeping (of fruit)2-3 weeks
- General resistanceAverage
- FireblightSome resistance
- Cold hardiness (USDA)(5) -20F / -29C
- Summer maximum temperaturesWarm (25-30C / 76-85F)
- Country of originUnited States
- Period of origin1750 - 1799
- Fruit colorRed / Green
A modern fireblight resistant pear, which ripens mid-season, about a week later than Bartlett.
Honeysweet is a self-fertile small late-season sweet pear, with buttery flesh, related to Seckel.