About The Saffron Pear Tree

The over 360 year old sweet Saffraan Pear Tree is an old Dutch pear that arrived way back in Van Riebeeck's time. Its Latin name is Pyrus communis, which makes it one of the original varieties of pear. It must be a good variety as the tree continues to bear fruit, albeit little renditions of the juicy crop, eaten predominantly by the birds of the garden.

Did you know? The oldest tree in the Company's Garden in Cape Town is also presumed the oldest cultivated tree in the country.

The old saying used by fruit growers that you 'plant pears for your heirs' obviously bears fruit. The old pear tree was originally one of a circle of pear trees in the centre of the garden. It's called a saffron pear tree because its leaves were used dye wool a saffron yellow. Typically the fruit was used in preserves and the tree was fairly common, often used to line the roads leading up to Cape Dutch farm houses.

This particular saffraan has an interesting story attached to it. It was recently cloned and a new tree developed from the old. Local consensus decided the old tree is swiftly reaching the close of its life – to keep it upright the tree is supported by braces and poles.

To save its genetic material cuttings were taken from the tree by the fruit distributor Tru Cape, to make grafts, which preserves the genetic purity of the mother plant. Once the clones were sapling trees one was planted alongside the original mother tree, whilst another was planted in the vegetable garden's orchard section.

The saffron pear tree is one of the country's Champion Trees, giving it special protected status so that it may not be damaged or cut.

Need to Know

WhereThe Saffraan Pear Tree, Company's Garden, Cape Town Central, City Bowl, Cape Town, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Cape Town Accommodation, Western Cape


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