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 ‘Fondant de Noél’

‘Fruit medium sized, turbinate. Skin yellow next the sun, covered with traces of russet and numerous russet dots, sometimes tinged with red on the side. Eye closed, set in a broad, shallow basin. Stalk long, obliquely inserted by the side of a fleshy lip. Flesh melting, juicy, sweet, and well flavoured. December and January.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.188/1830].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This pear was raised from seed by Major Esperen, Mechlin, Belgium. The tree fruited first in 1842 and was given the name Fondante de Noel to indicate the day on which it was tasted for the first time. In 1862 a pear called Souvenir d' Esperen, attributed to seed grown by Berckmans, a noted Belgian horticulturist living in the United States, was put forth, but after examination there did not appear to be any difference in either the fruit or the wood of this tree from that of the variety grown by Major Esperen. Because the name Souvenir d' Esperen appears in connection with Fondante de Noel, the variety has been confused with another pear which was raised by Major Esperen and named Souvenir d' Esperen. The two, however, are entirely distinct and the last-named sort has long been known and is still found growing in certain pear orchards of the eastern United States.’ [Pears of New York p.164].

‘An excellent Christmas pear. Late December to January.’ [Rivers - Catalogue of Fruit for 1853 and 1854]. Figured in Album de Pomologie [ADP vol.2, pl.33/1849], the illustration used here.


History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue in an Addendum as ‘Belle de Noel’ [Pear no.49/1850]. ‘49.  Melting, large, first rate.’ [Diary B, MP A2951/1862]. Obtained from Veitch’s Nursery, probably the original Exeter premises.


Published May 20, 2010 - 02:47 PM | Last updated Jul 22, 2011 - 01:38 PM

Figured are 2 pears with shoot and leaves, one yellow, pyriform, the other brown, more globular. Album de Pomologie pl.33, 1849.

Pear ‘Fondant de Noël’ | ADP vol.2, pl.33/1849 | Pomologische Bibliothek. Fondant de Noël is the smaller, globular pear on the right.


Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, Belgium

  • Belle de Noël
  • Belle Après Noël
  • Bonne de Noël
  • Souvenir d' Esperen


Common Name

Dessert Pear, winter

Name in the Camden Park Record

Belle de Noel

Confidence level high