The Whitewood pear refers to both a species of tree native to Yuriba and to its pomaceous fruit. It is closely related to southeast Asian cultivars of the pear. The trees are known for their ornamental properties and for the taste of their fruit.
Whitewood pear trees tend to be of modest height, though very old trees can grow closer to 30 metres tall; most top out at about 18 metres. They are fairly slender, with dark, rough bark that grows more rugged as the trees age. In spring and summer they begin to bloom with delicate, ovoid leaves in a light green hue, though each leaf is covered in fine silver 'hairs' which make the trees appear to be pure silver from a distance. Later in spring they begin to sprout clustered white flowers with yellow-green cores as the pears begin to grow.
The fruit themselves are winter pears and tend to be ready for picking only in the late autumn, with pear season running roughly from October to December. They're best picked before they're ripe but when they're ready to fall off the stem. Freshly picked pears should then be stored in a cold, dark place for about six weeks. By winter they will have ripened and can be eaten. Ripe whitewood pears have a pale yellow-green colour with just a hint of blushing pink cheeks, and they have a sweet, slightly woody taste with a savoury juice. Their flesh is firmer than an apple's, but with a satisfying crunch.
These trees tend to thrive at higher elevations where the air is cooler but are occasionally seen in lower altitudes in the Yuriba Forest.
In Yuriban culture
Whitewood pear trees are occasionally planted as ornamentals owing to the fetching appearance of their leaves and the convenience of being able to freely pick pears at home. The fruit is used with some regularity in native Yuriban cuisine, and it is a staple fruit during the winter, whether eaten singularly or incorporated into some manner of meal.
The tree's silvery appearance lends it name to the valley of Silverbough, where they grow in great abundance to the point of near-exclusivity in some areas.