A pear with a history! Black Worcester (or Worcester Black Pear) may date back to Roman times. Definitely dated back to 1575, when Queen Elizabeth 1 visiting Worcester saw a tree laden with Worcester Black pears. She is said to have told the city to include three pears on its coat of arms. Being such a prominent tree then it would have been around some time before 1575.
It is a culinary variety that does not soften enough to eat as a dessert and requires cooking for 1-2 hours. Large green pears covered that do turn dark mahogany coloured, but not quite black. Their shape is classified as ‘bergamot’ but they seem to be more oval in their appearance.They are best picked late October / early November and used later in the winter December / January onwards.
Like Catillac it is also classified as a ‘Warden’ pear. Warden pears are a group of large culinary pears that do not ripen up to the point they can be eaten fresh. In the past these pears would have been very valuable for their storage qualities well into the following year. Warden pears are said to have arisen at Warden Abbey, but there is no evidence that this is the case with Catillac and certainly not with Worcester Black, which is more likely to have arisen in the Worcestershire area from a seedling pear selected because of size and cooking & keeping qualities. But this is long ago and we will probably never be certain of its exact lineage.
Pollination group – C Pick – late October Storage until – March and later.