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Williams pear trees

Pyrus communis
Williams is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators
  • Picking season: Early
  • Self-fertility: Partially self-fertile
  • Flowering group: 3

One of the oldest English dessert pears, Williams was discovered in the late 18th century and quickly became popular. In England and Europe it is known as Williams or sometimes Williams Bon Chretien, after the nurseryman who first propagated it, whereas in North America it is usually known as Bartlett.

Williams is a good early-season pear variety, with a pleasant sweet flavour and fairly easy to grow.

Bio / Organic  fruit trees

Williams organic pear trees for sale

  • Maidentree on PyroDwarf rootstock25.00€
    Large tree (3m-5m after 10 years) Bare-root
Delivery countries
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
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Growing and Training

Make sure you pick the crop just before it becomes ripe - which will be late August in north-western Europe.

Williams is generally easy to grow but can be susceptible to scab in wetter areas.

Cropping is usually reliable even in less than ideal conditions, and Williams is a good choice for pear enthusiasts in cooler climates.


The fascinating origins of this pear were recorded by the Victorian fruit enthusiast Robert Hogg. He credited its discovery to either a Mr Wheeler or a Mr Stair, both schoolmasters in the town of Aldermaston, Berkshire, southern England some time before 1770. It was subsequently propagated by a nurseryman, Mr Williams of Turnham Green - who named it after himself!

In 1799 a batch of Williams trees were sent to the United States and planted in an orchard near Boston. The original variety name was soon lost, so a local nurseryman, Mr Bartlett, recognising the potential of the new variety, named it after himself. In this way the new variety, came to be known as Bartlett in North America and Williams in Europe.

Hogg suggests that the Bartlett pear was well suited to the climate of its new home, and was soon regarded as "the finest pear of its season". It became a major commercial variety in the USA.

Williams characteristics

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityPartially self-fertile
  • Flowering group3
  • Disease resistancePoor
  • Picking seasonEarly
  • Season of use1 week
  • Food usesEating fresh
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)Zone 4 (-34C)
  • Summer average maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)Cold (< 20C / 67F)
  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1750 - 1799
  • Flesh colourCream
  • Fruit colourGreen - light

Similar varieties

  • See also Red Williams
    Red Williams
    A red-coloured sport of the popular Williams pear, with a similar good flavour.