Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Pyrus communis ‘Beurré Van Mons’

‘Tree - of tolerably rapid growth. Shoots - vigorous, upright. Young wood - dusky yellow. Leaves - four or five from one bud, like  White Doyenne or Flemish Beauty. Primary leaves - large, oblong, slightly crenulate; footstalks about an inch and a half long. Secondary leaves - narrow, recurved, folded, with short footstalks. Fruit - medium to large, varying much in form. Skin - rough, greenish-yellow, and nearly covered with yellow russet. Surface - irregular, somewhat knobby. Stalk - an inch and a quarter long, with a fleshy base or lip. Calyx - erect, sometimes open, often placed on a singular fleshy ring. Basin - shallow irregular. Flesh rather coarse, juicy, melting, rich, slightly acid, mingled with sweet, and a peculiarly fine aroma. Season - October to middle of December. It grows very finely on Quince, is a good and regular bearer, and the fruit is equalled by few autumn Pears.’ 

This description, the only one I have seen of a pear called ‘Beurré Van Mons’, (or ‘Mont’ in this publication), appeared in volume 10 of The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste, edited by P. Barry and published in the USA between 1853 and 1874. 

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Fruit large, of a curved pyramidal shape. Skin almost entirely covered with dark brown russet, which is thin and smooth. Eye small and open, placed in a very slight depression. Stalk half an inch long, slender, and inserted on the surface of the fruit. Flesh greenish-yellow, fine-grained, melting, and buttery; very juicy, rich, sugary, and with a fine aroma. An autumn dessert pear of first-rate excellence. Ripe in the end of October, and continues three weeks. The tree is very hardy, an excellent bearer, and succeeds well as a standard or pyramid.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.154/1860].

Hogg’s description is of a pear called ‘Baronne de Melo’, with the synonyms ‘Beurré Van Mons’, ‘Adèle de St. Denis’ and ‘His’. [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.154/1860]. However, Le Jardin Fruitier du Muséum describes and figures a pear under the name of ‘Vicomte de Spoelberg’, with the synonym ‘Beurré Van Mons’ [JFM vol 5/1863], and another under the name ‘Baronne de Melo’ [JFM vol.6/1864], again with the synonym ‘Beurré Van Mons’. Jardin Fruitier du Muséum describes ‘Baronne de Melo’ as an autumn pear, the fruit pyriform in shape with yellow skin with patches of cinnamon russet, the flesh white, fine, juicy, with a musky flavour. This accords somewhat with Hogg’s description but not totally.

Pears of New York describes ‘Baronne de Melo’ as ‘A variety said to have been raised by Van Mons about 1830.’ [Pears of New York p.260]. ‘Beurré Van Mons’ is not listed.

Which of these three pears is Macarthur’s ‘Beurré Van Mons’ is impossible to say. There appears to be sufficient difference between the descriptions to make it unlikely that they all refer to the same pear. I have found no description of a pear that I can definitively call ‘Beurré Van Mons’ and in the absence of such a definitive description the one given in The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste must stand.

‘Poire Délices’ (Van Mons) is figured in Album de Pomologie [ADP vol.4, pl.47/1851], which may be Macarthur’s ‘Beurré Van Mons’. The illustration is used here.


History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue in an Addendum as ‘Beurré Van Mons’ [Pear no.37/1857]. In a copy of the 1857 catalogue the number ‘37’ is changed to ‘40’ and this aligns with the diary numbering. ‘40. Delicious, melting.’ [Diary B, MP A2951/1862]. Obtained from Veitch’s Nursery, probably the original Exeter premises.


Published May 19, 2010 - 03:29 PM | Last updated Jul 22, 2011 - 01:54 PM

Figured are 2 pears with shoot and leaves, both with green-yellow skin dotted with russet. Album de Pomologie pl.47, 1851.

Pear ‘Beurré Van Mons’ | ADP vol.4, pl.47/1851 as ‘Poire Délices’ (Van Mons) | Pomologische Bibliothek. Poire Délices is the pear on the right.


Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, Belgium

  • Vicomte de Spoelberg
  • Délices van Mons
  • Beurré de Mons
  • Beurré de Bruxelles


Common Name

Dessert Pear, autumn to early winter

Name in the Camden Park Record

Beurré Van Mons

Confidence level low