The Naschi (Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. F.) Nakai) and a plant native to central China (where it is called li; the term nashi is instead Japanese and means pear), a subtropical temperate climate zone, also widespread in Japan, South Korea, the United States, New Zealand and Australia.
At the end of the 1980s, its cultivation began also in Europe, at first with considerable interest which then declined rapidly, so much so that today it is considered marginal and domestic consumption somewhat limited.
The peculiar characteristics of nashi that differentiate it from the common pear are:
- the shape: round and flattened, similar to that of the apple (hence the improper name of pear-apple);
- the flesh: compact, juicy and crunchy;
- the taste: sweet and fragrant;
- the skin: smooth, golden-bronze colored (in the most valuable specimens) or yellow-green;
- the taste: particularly refreshing and pleasant in the summer season.
It is a vigorous and fairly rustic plant that adapts to most of the Italian fruit areas; it requires light, fertile, irrigable soils with sub-acid pH suffering from ferric chlorosis and magnesium deficiency in clayey and calcareous ones. It is very resistant to the winter cold while late frost can cause damage especially during flowering; even the wind is harmful to the leaves of some varieties (symptoms similar to brusone) and to the fruits close to the harvest, especially in the smooth-skinned varieties.
Varieties and rootstocks
Totally incompatible with the quince, the rootstocks that can be used for nashi are:
- Pyrus betulaefolia, very vigorous, suitable for heavy, moist and alkaline soils, not very sensitive to drought;
- Pyrus calleriana, less vigorous, less resistant to cold and to damp and calcareous soils;
- Pyrus serotina or pyrifolia, resistant to frost but fears heavy and damp soils;
- Pyrus communis, the less vigorous, adapts a little to all sandy and clayey soils.
The fruits of nashi have yellow-green or bronzed epidermis; bronzed fruit varieties are preferred in our markets. The pulp has different characteristics from one variety to another: crunchy, rather coarse in some, finer in others, sometimes fragrant, generally juicy, fairly sugary but with moderately poor acidity.
Among the more than 150 varieties spread in Italy, those recommended in the list of varietal orientation valid for the whole national territory are the following (in order of maturity): Tama, Kosui, Shinseiki, Hosui, Nijisseiki, Shimseiki and Shinko.
Nashi fruits (website photo)
Training forms: all the obligatory forms constituting a wall with branches tied to threads are suitable to limit wind damage: palmette, vertical axis, drapeau (flag), etc.
Most varieties are self-sterile and the presence of a pollinating variety is essential.
Flowering is different according to the varieties, however early, from 2 to 15 days before William.
The fruiting is very rapid and abundant; to obtain large-sized fruits, a good thinning must be done as soon as possible, 4-5 weeks after flowering. Tests of chemical thinning have so far proved unsuccessful. The collection is scaled, on average 2-3 detachments are needed.
The fruit can be consumed immediately after harvest; the conservation is very short for the early varieties, it can also be prolonged until February for the late varieties (Shinko, Cojuro).
Like the European pear tree, this species is sensitive to some parasites: bacterial drying, attacks with copper-based treatments are reduced in autumn and spring; carpocapsa, psilla, red spider, scab, etc. for which please refer to the defense of the pear tree.