Maisan Chungsil Bae, Agbae, Dockbae
The Maisan Green pear, also known locally as the Maisan chungsil bae, agbae or dockbae, blooms in mid-April and produces green colored fruits small than the average pear. During the second and third centuries of Korea’s Three Kingdoms period (which lasted from 57 BCE to 668), people planted many dol bae fruit trees, which came to be called chungsil bae. Only one single known tree of this variety has managed to survive until today, and was designated as a National Monument in South Korea in 1997. The tree reaches 15 m high and its trunk is nearly 3 m in circumference. It is a very upright specimen, reminiscent of the Maisan Mountain that stands behind it. This pear variety dates back centuries and was once common in the areas of Seoul, Gyonggi, Chunghchong and Cholla. The fruits were even mentioned in a Korean folk story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, in which the protagonist is served a liquor made from chungsil pears. Today, though, the tree is not found in the area that was the setting for this story. It is told that in 1380, General Lee Sung-gye celebrating a victory over Japanese soldiers stopped at the Eunsusa temple in Jinan, Jellabukdo, at the foot of Maisan Mountain and planted a chungsil bae pear tree. The tree was protected as it was planted by one of the founders of the Joseon Dynasty, remaining until today. The chungsil bae trees that once grew throughout the area have been replaced by imported improved pear varieties from other countries.