If you have ever been in Virginia when the Bradford Pear trees are in bloom, you are in for a treat! They typically line neighborhood streets and when in bloom, look like cotton candy on a stick. They smell like death and rotten animals when they begin to bloom, but they are so beautiful that the stench is worth the wait! The white is a perfect contrast to the flowering cherry and plum trees. It is breathtaking. However, I have recently learned a new (for me) fact about these amazing trees.
In 1964, this Chinese tree was brought over to the United States as an ornamental tree. However, the branches were not strong enough. In order to develop stronger branches and extend the life of the tree, the USDA cross-pollinated the Bradford Pear with other trees. This cross-pollination eventually led to a greater problem. The evil offspring has reverted to the ancient Chinese Callery pears, which form thorny thickets that choke out the life of other beautiful hardwood trees. Pear trees have now proliferated across Northern Virginia.
When I saw these thorny spines on a few of our beautiful bloomed trees, my heart broke and my heart sang.
These four inch thorns, which can pierce the John Deere tractor tires, are a perfect representation of Easter. The Roman soldiers unknowingly took an object of the curse (the thorn) and fashioned it into a crown for the One who would deliver us from that curse.
“. . .cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” Genesis 3:17-18
In His perfect atoning sacrifice, Christ has delivered us from the curse of sin, of which a thorn is a symbol. While intended to be a mockery, the crown of thorns that the soldiers placed on Christ’s forehead, is an excellent symbol of who Jesus is (our King) and what He came to accomplish (deliverance of our sin).
Though these thorns choke the life out of strong and sturdy hardwood trees, I am forever thankful and amazed that nothing can, or ever will, choke the life out of our SAVIOR Jesus Christ! He has Risen, He has Risen indeed!
♥ Meghan Heaton
Bradford Pear trees were profusely planted all over our Virginia neighborhood when it started some 24 years ago and sure enough (as they tend to live only 25 years), they have almost all died or were broken in half during storms and had to be removed. As you mentioned they are not a native tree.
But they are so beautiful and I love the way they line the streets! I even planted one in our front yard when we moved in to “match” the rest of the neighbors! The funny thing is, most of theirs have fallen down and mine is one of the “last pears standing”.