Pears for your heirs
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Pears for your heirs'?
An adage to encourage us to think long-term and look after future generations.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Pears for your heirs'?
Pear trees are very slow growing.
Pear trees, especially the old English varieties that would have been the subject of this proverb, take many years to mature and give fruit. You don't plant them for yourself but for your heirs.
The full version of the phrase, which is a 17th century English proverb, is:
Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs.
The sense of the altruistic nature of tree planting was also expressed by Thomas Fuller in his work Gnomologia, 1732:
"He that plants trees loves others beside himself."