COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOWK) – Ohio has added another plant to its list of invasive plants with a law that now makes it illegal to plant, sell or grow Callery pears, also called Bradford pears, in the Buckeye State.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Callery pear tree has invasive qualities, which can cause environmental and economic harm to local ecosystems. The Callery pear is an ornamental species of the fruit that is native to regions of Asia and was introduced to North America for agricultural purposes in the early 1900s, the ODNR says.

Due to its adaptability, flowering, fall colors and rounded crown, the Callery pear became a favorite for landscaping. The ODNR says when it was first introduced to the US, people believed the plant was not able to produce seed and that it was bred to be sterile. However, several cultivated varieties, most commonly the Bradford, are able to pollinate and produce viable fruit. Officials say other common species of the Callery pear besides the Bradford include the Cleveland Select, the Autumn Blaze, the Chanticleer, and the Whitehouse.

“Callery pear often dominates young, regenerating forest areas and inhibits the growth and establishment of native plant species,” said Chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry Dan Balser. “Halting the further sale and intentional propagation of Callery pear will help reduce the further introduction of this environmentally harmful tree species.” 

According to the ODNR, there is currently no requirement to remove existing plants, but the Division of Forestry is encouraging Ohioans to control and remove their Callery pear plants for the benefit of the state’s native forest ecosystems. The ODNR also has information on how to remove the Callery pear from your property on it’s website with two factsheets, available here and here.

Because of the plant’s popularity in landscaping, the ODNR has also suggested some tree species that are native to the eastern United States that could be used as alternatives to the Callery pear such as the:

  • serviceberry
  • eastern redbud
  • chokecherry
  • American plum
  • flowering dogwood
  • eastern hophornbeam
  • American hornbeam
  • yellowwood
  • hawthorn
  • blackgum

For more information on laws regarding invasive plant species, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website.