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Conference pear


Conference is the most widely-grown pear variety in the UK. It crops heavily and reliably, and will grow in most situations. It is also the leading commercial pear variety in Europe, with the Netherlands being the biggest producer.

Conference is self-fertile, and a good pollinator for many other pears.

A home-grown Conference pear, picked just before it is fully ripe, has an excellent flavour that should not disappoint.

Conference was developed by the Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, in the second half of the 19th century. It is thought to be a seedling of a continental variety called Van Mons Leon Leclerc. It was named after the National British Pear Conference held in 1885.

Conference pear identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

USDA identification images for Conference

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

  • USDA watercolor image of Pyrus communis: Conference
  • USDA watercolor image of Pyrus communis: Conference
  • USDA watercolor image of Pyrus communis: Conference

Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Offspring of this variety

Sports of this variety

Sports are natural genetic mutations of the original variety.

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United States

United Kingdom




New Zealand


  • Species: Pyrus communis - Pear
  • Parentage: Seedling of Van Mons Leon Leclerc
  • Originates from: Sawbridgeworth, England, United Kingdom
  • Introduced: Late 19th century
  • Developed by: Rivers of Sawbridgeworth
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1973-199


  • Awards: RHS AGM (current)
  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Period of origin: 1850 - 1899
  • Fruit colour: Green - light
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Popularity: Best sellers
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous


  • Picking season: Mid
  • Keeping (of fruit): 2-3 weeks
  • Flavour quality: Average
  • Cropping: Heavy
  • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Picking period: mid-September
  • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


  • Gardening skill: Beginner
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Pollinating others: Good
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average vigour
  • Precocity: Precocious
  • Bearing regularity: Regular
  • Growth habit: Upright
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
  • Self-fertility: Self-fertile


  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Climate suitability: Mild damp climates
  • Climate suitability: Warm climates
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Cold hardiness (RHS): H6 (to -20C)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cold (< 20C / 67F)

Other qualities

  • Disease resistance: Average
  • Scab (Apple and Pear): Some resistance
  • Fire blight: Some susceptibility

Where to buy trees

The following tree nurseries offer Conference pear trees for sale:

Where to buy fresh fruit

The following orchards grow Conference:

United Kingdom


  • Fruit Expert
    Author: Hessayon
  • The Book of Pears (2015)
    Author: Morgan

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