Most fruit trees typically live for 100 years, if cared for properly. They are susceptible to weather, insects, and fungal diseases, and are generally lucky if they celebrate their centennial. The Endicott Pear Tree, however, did not receive this memo and has managed to live for nearly 400 years.
The tree, located in Danvers, was planted by Massachusetts governor, John Endicott, around 1630 and is still going strong.
The tree is mind mindbogglingly tenacious and has survived centuries of abuse – both from the temperamental New England weather and vandals. It was attacked by hurricanes numerous times in the 19th century and hit severely by one in 1934. After the last hit, it managed to regrow from the mangled trunk. In the 1960’s, vandals cut off the tree’s branches and cut down the trunk to 6 feet above ground. Yet again, the spunky pear tree regrew. How’s that for determination?
Aside from being the oldest of its kind, the Endicott Pear Tree also has the distinction of having been cloned. It’s clone is also doing quite well and it will be interesting to see if the clone manages to outlive us all as well.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Endicott Pear Tree, to us anyway, is the fact that it’s a living treasure from our colonial past. Yes, we have houses, writings, and artifacts dating back from the same time period, but it’s fascinating to know that something has physically lived and survived for all of this time.