In English, Asian pears are also known as apple pears, sand pears, nashi, Japanese pears, Chinese pears, Korean pears, and others. They have many common names, and due to their extremely long history of cultivation, there may be thousands of varieties currently in existence, affecting their size, taste, color, and harvest time. As with most fruits and vegetables, domestication of wild plants has caused a significant increase in the size of Pyrus pyrifolia fruits, and the heaviest Asian pear varieties can even weigh up to 4 pounds per fruit. The Asian pears typically seen in American markets are about the size of a large apple.
The bell-shaped pear, which is more commonly associated with the term "pear", is Pyrus communis, the fruit of a tree originating from Eastern Europe or Western Asia. This common or European pear also has many varieties, although significantly fewer than Asian pears. Unlike Asian pears, European pears ripen on the tree, and are sweetest when they soften and have a more creamy texture than the crispy Asian pear.