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Medieval Fruit Varieties

Variety: Thorn (~1600)

An early-mid season perry pear with medium acids and low tannins. Origin: A very old English cultivar grown since the 1600s. Fruit: Small, pyriform, occasionally turbinate, 42-64 mm long, 40-54 mm diameter; stem short, 11-25 mm; no stem basin; wide, shallow calyx basin; calyx stiffly upright. Skin yellow, russetted at stem and calyx ends; lenticels numerous but inconspicuous. Flesh with few stone cells around core. Ripens mid-late September in England’s West Midlands, early September in western Oregon. Tree: Small, upright and compact with conspicuous spurs; very productive, but very slow to come into bearing; fruit scab often present. Perry: Fruit milled within one week of harvest; juice acidity 0.57, tannins 0.10, specific gravity 1.062; produces a good quality vintage with low tannins. - Brooks and Olmo Register of Fruit and Nut Varieties Thorns trees are scattered throughout England's perry growing districts; particularly common in northwest Gloucestershire. Was once widely planted for dessert and culinary purposes for which it is now considered too astringent. Popular on account of its compact habit and heavy cropping. The resulting perry, which is medium acid, low-tannin, can be of very good quality.

[Source: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database] National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: (15 May 2011) ]