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 ‘Napoléon’

‘Fruit large, the form of a Colmar, angular about the eye, a good deal contracted in the middle, about three inches and three quarters long, and three inches in diameter. Eye small, with a connivent calyx, a little depressed. Stalk half an inch long, thick, straight; in some specimens diagonally inserted under a large, elongated, curved lip. Skin smooth, bright green, in which state it remains for some time after the fruit is gathered; it finally changes to a pale green, when the flesh becomes very melting, with a most unusual abundance of rich agreeable juice. Ripe the middle of November, and remains in perfection several days.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.380/1831].



Horticultural & Botanical History

‘An excellent variety, raised by Dr. Van Mons, at Louvain, and thence sent to this country in 1816. It is now pretty common, and universally admired. It ripens in the middle of November, and remains in perfection several days. It is necessary to bear in mind that this Pear is not fit to eat till its deep green colour becomes very pale; as early as the beginning of October, the fruit is sweet and pleasant; but if in perfection, it is filled with a most unusual abundance of rich agreeable juice, combined with a flesh as tender and melting as that of a Peach.

Trees sent from Tournay, by M. Dumortier-Ruteau, under the name of La Médaille, have proved the same as this; and it is extremely probable that the Sucré doré of some collections is also a synonym of it.’ [PM t.75/1829].

It was actually raised in 1808 by M. Liard, a vintner of Mons. [Pears of New York p.479, HP pl.XXXVIII/1878]. ‘To such a degree does it abound in juice, that Diel says of it, that one may be supposed to drink the fruit.’  [HP pl.XXXVIII/1878]. 



History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues ‘Napoleon’ [Pear no.9/1845]. ‘9. March-April.  A very fine pear apparently of remarkable form equal in [2 words undeciphered] to the Marie Louise if not better.  Grows very slowly.’ [Diary B, MP A2951/1862].




Published May 17, 2010 - 03:31 PM | Last updated Jul 22, 2011 - 04:41 PM

Figured is a large green pear of pyriform shape, somewhat angular in outline. Pomological Magazine  t.75, 1829.

Pear ‘Napoléon’ | PM t.75/1829 | BHL


Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, Belgium

  • Bonaparte
  • Beurré Napoléon
  • Bon Chrêtien Napoléon
  • Napoléon d’Hiver
  • Captif de St. Hélène
  • Roi de Rome
  • Gloir de l’Empereur
  • Beurré Autien
  • Charles X
  • Liard
  • Sucrée Dorée
  • Wurtemberg
  • La Médaille


Common Name

Dessert Pear, late autumn

Name in the Camden Park Record




Confidence level high