Seckel is a traditional American pear, with a notably sweet sugary flavor. It was discovered in the early 18th century near Philadelphia, and soon established a reputation as a gourmet pear.
The Victorian pomologist Robert Hogg 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.
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Like many antique varieties, Seckel is a tough hardy tree, and a good choice for the backyard orchard.
Although it is not known for certain, Seckel may have some relation to the Bartlett or Williams pear - it cannot cross-pollinate with these varieties.
Advice on fruit tree pollination.
Philadelphia, USA, mid18th century. The history of the Seckel pear is documented in articles published by fruit enthusiasts in the United States and Europe in the 19th century, and the original tree survived into the late 19th century. It appears to have arisen as a chance seedling of a European pear in about 1760, and at some stage thereafter the land on which it grew was owned by a Mr Seckel (or Seckle) who named it.
For more details see this article about Seckel in the Good Fruit Grower magazine.