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                                                                          Descriptions 

Albemarle Pippin - Also known as Newtown Pippin or Yellow Newtown.  Thomas Jefferson wrote of this apple from France, “They have no apple to compare with our Newtown Pippin.”  And the same can still be said today.  Not an attractive apple:  medium-size; squatty; dull, greenish-yellow skin.  But its yellow flesh is rich, crisp, and fine-flavored.  Ripens October through November and keeps well into the winter.  Full sugar is said to develop in January.  Good for pies, cooking, or eating out of hand.  Susceptible to scab, but resistant to collar rot. Originated in New York in the early 1700’s.

Arkansas Black - Originated in Benton County, Arkansas around 1870.  Probably a seedling of Stayman Winesap.  Arkansas Black is a medium to large apple.  Waxy skin is dark red, nearly black.  Flesh is yellow with distinctive flavor.  Hard when first picked, but mellows in storage.  Noted for disease resistance.  A superior, late, no-spray, keeping apple.  Pulled from the storage pit on a cold winter day, and dipped in caramel, a slice of Arkansas Black, is a treat you won’t soon forget. 

Baldwin - This old Massachusetts apple, dating to 1740, was the most widely planted variety in the U.S. until the 1920’s.  Its decline is attributed to a tendency to biennial bearing.  It is also a triploid cultivar—hardy but sterile—thus requiring a pollinator.  Large fruit, bright red skin with white dots.  Baldwin trees are still found at old home sites; the high-flavored apples are well worth a special trip to gather. 

Ben Davis - The most widely planted apple variety in the South after the Civil War.   Think of it as the nineteenth century’s Red Delicious.  A large, dull-red apple; hardy, vigorous, dependable, productive.  Keeps like a cobblestone.  Often described as having only passing flavor.  Ms. Genevieve Gray, an octogenarian from South Elgin, Illinois sent us a story several years ago that well illustrates the point:  “There was a joke going around when I was a girl about a fellow who claimed to be such an expert in recognizing apples by taste that he could identify any kind blindfolded.  He was challenged, of course, and given apple after apple to taste--identifying each correctly.  Finally, in desperation to fool him, one of the challengers grabbed a large piece of cork, carved it into the shape of an apple, and offered it to him.  He bit out a chunk, hesitated, bit out another, then reluctantly admitted that he wasn’t real sure.  “I think it’s a Ben Davis,” he said.  And then he quickly added, “But if it is, it’s the best one I’ve ever eaten.”  We would add only that any tree that can stand up to 125 years of ribbing has earned its place in the orchard.

Benham - An old Kentucky apple sometimes known as the “Brown Apple.”  Yellow-brown skin.  Juicy and good tasting.  Ripens late summer.  Does not keep well, but the deficiency is easily overlooked.  Popular in southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

Best-O-Reds - An old strain of Red Delicious that we offer here for the first time.  Our stock tree comes from the orchard of Amos Fisher in Strasburg, Pennsylvania.  A dull-red striped apple, we suspect that it is identical to the original Red Delicious.  But the connection has been lost over time.  Writes Mr. Fisher, “[When] you taste it you will discover why they named it Delicious.”

Black Ben Davis - Seedling of Ben Davis dating to 1880.  Medium to large fruit, slightly conical, deep red all over.  Pushed for a number of years by Stark Brothers Nursery as the rightful successor to father Ben, but eventually displaced by other patented sorts.  Said to make the best apple butter you ever tasted.

Black Limbertwig - A spicy and aromatic variety, prized for fresh eating, cider and apple butter.  Weeping type.  Ripens October.  Described at a 1914 Georgia Horticultural Society meeting as very disease resistant.  We highly recommend this rugged and full-flavored type.

Bramley’s Seedling - Said to be for many years the most popular cooking apple in England.  Fruit is large, somewhat flat, greenish-yellow with broad, broken brown and red stripes.  Sharply acid flavor makes a fine cider.  High in vitamin C.  Does well in frost pockets because of its late bloom.  A vigorous grower, though susceptible to fire blight.  Triploid, requiring a pollinator.  Shows some tendency to biennial bearing and ripens early October to November.  Keeps well, becoming quite greasy in storage.  Originated in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England around 1809 from two pips or seeds planted in a cottage garden belonging to a couple of “maiden ladies” by the name of Brailsford.  The original tree is reportedly still standing.  The apple gets its name from the subsequent owner of the cottage, a butcher named Matthew Bramley. 

Brushy Mountain Limbertwig - An excellent commercial variety still grown in the Brushy Mountains of Alexander County, North Carolina.  Round to slightly conical, dull red and lemon yellow in color.  Very juicy with a most unusual, aromatic flavor.  Ripens October, will keep until June.  A weeping type.

Buckingham - A hundred years ago Buckingham or “Equinetely” was one of the most popular apples available.  Fruit is large, yellow-green with mottled red stripes.  Thick skin.  Crisp, juicy, subacid flesh.  Ripens September to October.  Mentioned in pomological literature as early as 1817.  Buckingham may have originated with the Cherokee Indians in Georgia.  A must for collectors of Southern apples.

Calville Blanc d’Hiver - This classic French dessert apple dates to 1627.  Large, ribbed, and full-flavored.  Very high in vitamin C.  Ripens to a bright yellow in October.  According to apple expert, Tom Burford, of Lynchburg, Virginia, Calville Blanc “does not produce fruit of the highest quality until it has cropped for a number of years.” 

Carolina Red June - An old variety still widely popular in the South.  One of the best early cooking apples.  Small fruit, red over yellow.  White flesh is sometimes stained red near the skin like a Rome.  Good for pies and eating out of hand.  Ripens over a long period and does not keep well.

Chenango Strawberry - One of the most inviting apples by name.  This conical, medium-sized fruit is extremely aromatic, filling an entire room with its aroma.  Skin is blushed pink over pale white.  Flesh is juicy, tender, and mildly tart.  Chenango must be picked when fully ripe or the flesh is corky and tasteless.  Said to have originated in Chenango County, New York, 1854.  Very susceptible to fire blight.

Cox’s Orange Pippin - Perhaps the most popular English apple ever grown.  Noted for its exquisite flavor and aroma.  Taylor writes in The Apples of England that Cox’s Orange has “all the characters so admirably blended and balanced as to please the palate and nose as no other apple can do.”  An attractive, orange-red fruit with large patches of brown russet; medium size; ripens September to October and keeps into January.  Does well in frost pockets.  A parent of Gala and Kidd’s Orange Red.

Duchess of Oldenburg - An old Russian apple brought to this country from England in 1835 when the London Horticultural Society sent scions to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston.  Noted for its rugged hardiness, wide adaptability, and early bearing.  Fruit is medium-sized, flatly rectangular in shape.  Thick, pale-yellow skin is nearly covered with striking crimson stripes and splashes.  Tolerable for fresh eating but best used as an early cooking apple.  In England, used for making tarts.

Early Harvest - Noted nineteenth century pomologist, A.J. Downing describes Early Harvest as “the finest early apple,” and says that “the smallest collection of apples should comprise this and the Red Astrakan.”  Early Harvest ripens over a period of about a month, and in the South may begin ripening as early as June 1st.   The yellow fruit sometimes cracks and drops prematurely.  Best for pies and sauces.  Has a rich, sprightly flavor.

Early Red Bird - Trademarked and sold by Stark Bro’s Nursery from 1915 to the 1930’s, Early Red Bird is one of the earliest of all apples, but now extremely rare. Fruit medium, oblate, striped red.  Flesh white, juicy, rather soft, subacid to acid.  Notes one of our pomologist friends, “Early Red Bird is…a good apple to fry with bacon or sausage for breakfast.”

Fallawater - Originated in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania.  A very large apple, sometimes six inches across, skin green.  Good for cooking, applesauce, drying and eating out of hand.  Popular in the 19th century and still known in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.  A vigorous grower, producing enormous crops of apples. 

Fall Pippin - Much confusion attends the name Fall Pippin.  Synonyms include Philadelphia Pippin, Pound Royal, York Pippin, and Golden Pippin.  The variety was known before 1800, but the place of its apparently American origin is unknown.  Fruit large and round, skin thin, sometimes faintly blushed.  If you’re looking for that big “Pound Pippin” that grew on Granddaddy’s farm, this might be it! 

Fameuse - Also called Snow Apple because of its white flesh.  Thought to be a parent of McIntosh.  Fruit is small to medium, dark red over cream, with a distinctive, spicy flavor.  Good for dessert and cider.  Dates to the late 1600’s from French seed planted in Canada.  Tends to biennial bearing.  Ripens late summer to early autumn. 

Freedom - Developed by the Cornell Research Foundation, released 1983.  Tree is vigorous with leathery leaves; fruit red over faint yellow.  A sprightly, full-flavored apple.  Good pollinator for Liberty.  Ripens October, stores until January.  A superior, all-purpose type.  Freedom is noted for its excellent disease resistance, the result of a crabapple cross in its lineage.

Gala (“Autumn” cultivar) - The original Gala was developed in New Zealand and introduced in 1965.  This earlier-ripening selection is medium-sized, oval to round, with reddish-orange skin.  Extremely firm flesh, very juicy, sweet and mildly aromatic.  A vigorous grower, Gala is one of the new varieties that is likely to endure.  It is the offspring of  Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin.

Gilpin - We were fortunate to obtain scions of this old Virginia cider apple from Roger Berns of Soldiers Grove, WI.  Our interest in getting a start of the Gilpin goes back to our nursery forebear, great-great-grandfather, C.C. Davis, who had some good things to say about the Gilpin in the 1887 Silver Leaf Nurseries catalog:  “Of Va. Origin; medium or below, roundish oblong; skin smooth and handsome, richly streaked with deep red and yellow; flesh firm, rich, juicy and good; a late keeper.”  Gilpin is also reportedly a good frost-pocket variety. We are look forward to fruiting it in our orchard.  

Golden Delicious - One of the most popular apples ever grown.  Medium to large fruit, conical, golden-yellow with a fine, sweet flavor.  Golden Delicious is self-fruitful and an excellent pollinator tree.  Susceptible to cedar apple rust, but the problem is mostly cosmetic.  In 1914, Stark Bro’s Nursery paid a much-publicized $5,000 for the parent tree.  Paul Stark, who then headed up Stark Bro’s, traveled 1000 miles by rail, and another 25 miles on horseback, to Odessa, West Virginia, after samples of the Golden Delicious were mailed to the Stark Bro’s home office in Missouri.  We defer to Mr. Stark for the rest of the tale:  “There, looming forth in the midst of small leafless barren trees, was one tree with rich green foliage, as if it had been transplanted from the Garden of Eden.  That tree’s boughs were bending to the ground beneath a tremendous crop of great, glorious, glowing golden apples.  As I started for it on the run, a fear bother me.  Suppose it’s just a Grimes Golden apple after all?  I came closer and saw the apples were fifty percent larger than Grimes Golden.  I picked one and bit into its crisp, tender, juice-laden flesh.  Eureka!  I had found it!”  So, for Stark Bro’s at least, there truly was “gold in them thar hills.”

Golden Russet - An old American variety famous as a dessert and keeping apple.  One of the best varieties to blend in cider.  Fruit is medium-sized, brownish russet.  Flesh fine-grained, light yellow and crisp.  Long storage life.  Vigorous habit with a strong tendency to biennial bearing.  Fruit ripens late October and will hang on the tree into winter.  Keeps until spring.

Golden Sweet - A celebrated Connecticut fruit.  Medium to large size, pale yellow skin.  Flesh tender, sweet, and excellent—tops for making sauce.  A vigorous, long-lived tree.  Ripens July to August.

Granny Smith - Popular light green apple noted for its late (November) ripening.  Superior keeper, sprightly flavor.  Good for cooking and eating out of hand.  Originated in Australia as a chance seedling, 1868.  One of a handful of antique apples still holding its own in the commercial market.

Grimes Golden - Medium to large golden yellow apple with a rich spicy-sweet flavor.  Popular for home use.  Good for juice, cider, and eating out of hand.  Ripens October, keeps until January.  Like Golden Delicious, it is an excellent pollinator.  Dates to 1804, Brook County, West Virginia.

Hardy Cumberland - A cross of Detroit Red and Lyons made at VPI in 1961.  A good apple for the southern Appalachian highlands, showing resistance to native diseases.  Medium-sized fruit is lightly ribbed, round oblate.  Washed and striped carmine over a pale, greenish-yellow base, with lentical dots and striking stem-end russet patterns.  Excellent eating quality:  sweet juicy, and crisp.  Ripens mid-season.  Hardy to -25F.

Hawkeye Red Delicious - This is the original Red Delicious discovered by C.M. Stark of Strark Bro’s Nursery on the farm of Jesse Hiatt in Madison County, Iowa.  According the 1922 Stark Bro’s Centennial Fruit Book, “[Mr. Stark] secured perpetual rights to that tree because he knew that in it he had the apple that would astound the pomological world and bring happiness and fortune to orchardists throughout the land.”  Of course, Stark Bro’s propagation rights to the Red Delicious eventually ran out—likewise the enthusiastic rhetoric.  Still, it is fair to say that the original Delicious is a fine-tasting, striped red apple.  The many sports of Delicious grown today, all selected for color and productivity, have come to symbolize modern agribusiness at its worst.

Henry Clay  - Another Stark Bro’s introduction around 1910, this apple was advertised as better and earlier than Yellow Transparent.  Why it never caught on in a mystery.  Fruit medium, of variable shape, often lopsided and ribbed.  Skin green or pale yellow, sometimes with a pinkish orange blush.  Ripens June to July.

Hewes Crab - Also know as Hughes’ Virginia Crab, Virginia Crab and Hugh’s Virginia.  Lee Calhoun notes in Old Southern Apples, “This is the most celebrated cider apple ever grown in the South, making a dry cider unsurpassed in flavor and keeping ability.”  Fruit small, round, green.  Ripens fall or winter in most of the south, mid-August in the Deep South.  Notes an 1879 North Carolina nursery catalog, “The cider we use comes principally from the North.  It is not equal to crab cider.  Cider should be made at home.  All that is desired for this purpose is found in the Hewe’s Crab.  This is the best winter cider crab in existence.  It is hardy, productive and makes the finest cider.  The cider keeps perfectly sweet all winter and is clear and sparkling.”

Hog Sweet - An old mountain apple of North Georgia, once thought to be extinct.  Hog Sweet is perhaps the same apple as Hog Island Sweet (originating in New York) of which an old nursery catalog notes, “A very fine apple for the table and for fattening stock.”  Fruit medium, round, yellow with brown specks.  Worth growing for the name alone.

Horse Apple - Origin uncertain, probably North Carolina.  Medium to large apple, yellow with a pink blush and carmine stripes.  Flesh is white, coarse, sometimes stained pink.  Unusual, tart flavor.  Good for fresh eating, cooking, vinegar, and cider.  Excellent for drying apple.  Popular up until about 1930.  A vigorous and long-lived tree; old specimens can still be found at abandoned homesteads today.  One of the best summer apples for the South.

Hyslop Crab - First noted in America in 1869, this apple was grown by our great-great-grandfather, C.C. Davis, and is still being grown today by our grandfather, Paul Davis, of Rose Hill, Virginia.  A small, dull red apple, Hyslop does not inspire enthusiasm until it is converted into a delicious light-pink jelly.  Ripens August or September and will hang on the tree until Thanksgiving.  Best if picked early in the season.

Jonagold - A cross of Jonathan and Golden Delicious developed at the Geneva, New York breeding station, 1968.  This hardy tree produces large apples, yellow with light scarlet stripes.  Very productive.  Flesh has a distinctive “breaking” quality and is noted for its full, sweet-tart flavor.  Jonagold was once the most widely planted variety in Europe.  Requires a cross pollinator.  We heartily recommend this apple for eating out of hand.

Jonathan - Despite a susceptibility to fire blight, this seedling of Esopus Spitzenburg continues to be one of the more popular apple varieties we list.  A 1903 lithograph in our possession describes Jonathan as “a very beautiful dessert apple… its great beauty, good flavor, and productiveness in all soils, unite to recommend it to orchard planters.”  One of the finest early varieties for eating out of hand. 

King David - Found growing wild in a fence row in Washington County, Arkansas, 1893.  Thought to be a cross of Arkansas Black and Jonathan, this variety retains the good qualities of both parents.  Tree is vigorous, disease resistant, early bearing.  Fruit is medium size, dark red over pale green, growing brighter red as it hangs on the tree into winter.  Ripens November.  A very flavorful apple.

King Luscious - Writes Roger Yespen in Apples,  “An irregular hunk of an apple, with large uneven lobes and a weight over one pound, King Luscious looks like a bland-tasting oaf but is a pleasant surprise.” Similar to Wolf River, but bigger and arguably more flavorful, King Luscious is one novelty apple that definitely lives up to its name. Again borrowing from Yespen, “Although very few nurseries carry the tree, it is worth tracking down.”  We certainly agree.

Ladyfinger - This unusual apple name is surprisingly common in pomological literature.  Ragan’s 1905 Nomenclature lists four apples named Lady Finger or Ladyfinger, and gives three additional apples for which it is a synonym.  Coxe (1817) describes the variety as follows:  “The form is oblong and pointed towards the blossom end, more remarkably long than any apple I have seen—the skin is greenish yellow; the flesh pleasant, but much inferior to the Newton pippin; it is an early winter fruit: does not keep well, but is an abundant bearer: the tree is of very delicate growth, with small limbs.”  Apple expert, Lee Calhoun, thinks that Ladyfinger is a synonym for Buncombe or Crow Egg.  Which Ladyfinger we actually have is uncertain at this point.  At any rate, we have a handful of Ladyfinger whips available for fall shipment.

Lewis Green - This apple comes to us from the collection of Mr. Tom Ray of Marshall, NC.  Lewis Green dates to at least 1877 when it was mentioned at the annual meeting of the American Pomological Society.  It was also described in 1904 and was said to have originated in Watauga County, North Carolina.  We have not fruited the Lewis Green ourselves.  Writes Lee Calhoun in Old Southern Apples, “Fruit almost large, greenish yellow sometimes with a blush; dots numerous, dark and russet…Flesh greenish white, tender, juicy, subacid.  Ripe August—September or later.”

Liberty - One of the best of the new, disease resistant types.  Medium-size fruit, red all over.  Firm, juicy, flavorful flesh. Tree vigorous, heavily spurred, productive.  Highly recommended.  Pairs nicely with Freedom.

Lincoln - In 1996 Mr. Leon Moyers of Harrisonburg, Virginia wrote us to see if we offered this tree.  Mr. Moyers noted that he still had an old Lincoln in his orchard, but wanted to plant more.  When we checked through our reference material, we discovered that Mr. Moyers’ Lincoln was thought to be extinct.  Of course, we eagerly sent for scions and now offer this unusual summer sort to the home grower.   Originating in Texas, Lincoln is a good grower, medium size; skin green, flesh subacid and good flavored.  Ripens mid-summer when most other varieties are still biding their time.

Liveland Raspberry - An old Russian apple, once popular in the South.  Also called Lowland Raspberry.  Fruit is round, medium to large, with red stripes over a cream background.  White flesh is often stained red, very tender, mild, subacid turning sweet.  Ripens early.  Tends to biennial production.  Mature trees are not very large.  Shows some susceptibility to fire blight and is cold hardy to -50 degrees F.

Lodi - Also called the Improved Yellow Transparent, Lodi is a 1911 cross of Yellow Transparent and Montgomery.   Larger, firmer, and a better keeper that its popular relative—but most folks still prefer the distinctive flavor of Yellow Trans.  Lodi is good for applesauce and pies.  A dependable, productive variety.  Requires a pollinator to set fruit well.

Lowry - Mr. Tom Sauls of Chilhowie, Virginia has supplied us with scions and samples of this old Virginia apple.  We have found the Lowry to be a thrifty grower in the nursery.  The dark red apples are medium-size, ripening September, and similar to Virginia Beauty in flavor.  Mr. Sauls thinks they might even be better.  Either way, you’ll come out on top if you decide to join the debate.

Lyman’s Large Summer - First exhibited at the 1847 meeting of the Michigan Horticultural Society.  Thought to have been lost entirely at one time, but accidentally rediscovered in 1941 when a tree thought to be Cole’s Quince was recognized to be the Lyman’s Large.  Fruit is large, smooth, green sometimes yellow.  Excellent crisp, juicy flesh.  Fine subacid flavor.  Very aromatic.  Ripens early to mid-August.  A great variety for fresh eating in the dead heat of summer.

Magnum Bonum - According to pple historian, Lee Calhoun, few southern apples have received more praise in the past than Magnum Bonum.  Lee describes it as “an excellent apple—tender, crisp, juicy, aromatic, subacid.”  Fruit is medium-size, red over yellow.  Grows extremely well in the South.  Ripens September to October.

Maiden’s Blush - One of the oldest American apples.  Coxe wrote in 1817 that Maiden’s Blush was popular in the Philadelphia markets of his day.  Fruit is medium-size, yellow, with an attractive blush on its cheek.  Flesh is light, crisp, tender, mildly subacid.  Good for cooking, fresh eating, cider, and dying.  Ripens over several weeks in September.  Origin New Jersey.

Mammoth Black Twig - Seedling of Winesap, dating to 1833.  Also called “Arkansaw.”  Large, round red fruit.  Tart yellow flesh.  Excellent for all purposes.  One of the very finest apples of its size.  Disease resistant.  A premier southern keeping apple.

McIntosh - The old standard among Northern apples.  Medium size, mostly red, with green coloring where leaves shade the fruit.  The tough skin of McIntosh makes it a good shipper.  Best suited to the higher elevations of the South. 

Milam - A good general purpose apple.  First described in an 1846 issue of the Magazine of Horticulture:  “Probably a native of Virginia or Kentucky where it is extensively cultivated and prized.”  Milam is a small to medium apple, greenish yellow to crimson.  Ripens September to October.  Best flavor around Christmas, keeps until April.  Bears heavy crops every year.  Tolerant of late frosts.

Mollies Delicious - Large fruit, slightly conical, full red color—but not a Red Delicious type.  Described by one writer as having a “snappy, high-quality flesh.”  Tree is vigorous and productive and will “re-bloom” if hit by a frost. A very heat tolerant variety, producing apples as far south as Louisiana. 

Mother - Introduced in 1844, Mother is one of the better-known American dessert apples.  Bright, solid-red fruit.  Tends to be small.  Yellow flesh is crisp and juicy, a mix of sweet and subacid flavor.  Downing said of this apple:  “This admirable fruit is to our taste unsurpassed in flavor of any of its season.”  Blooms late.  Ripens Sept. to Oct.  Best in the orchard, according to our friend, Clyde Poore, of Bristol, Tennessee. 

Myers Royal Limbertwig - The largest of the Limbertwig apples, Myers Royal ranges from dull red to crimson on yellow.  Rich flavor.  Excellent quality.  Juicy, firm and very aromatic.  Said to make a wonderful cider.  Has a semi-weeping form, with wide crotch angles that make for easy pruning.  A dependable cropper, and one of our better selling trees.

Nickajack - Our great-great-grandfather, C.C. Davis, propagated this apple at the Silver Leaf Nurseries in the 1880’s, so we are proud to offer it as part of our family heritage.  Also known as Carolina Spice, Cheatam Pippin, Winter Rose, Winter Horse, Missouri Pippin, and World’s Wonder, Nickajack is a medium to large apple with greenish-yellow skin shaded red.  Flesh firm, juicy, briskly subacid.  Ripens September to November depending on location.  Keeps until April.  Not a high-flavored apple, but like Red Delicious, it is a dependable bearer and a good keeper.

Northern Spy - A seedling apple originating in New York in the early 1800’s.  One parent may have been Wagener.  Large fruit, red stripes over dull yellow.  Skin is thin and tender—must be handled carefully.  Flesh juicy, tender, richly tart, aromatic.  Stays fresh even after long storage.  Tree is large, upright, and vigorous.  Slow to come into bearing--on standard roots, up to 14 years!  Tends also to biennial production.  Recommended by Fred Lape, author of Apples and Man, as perhaps the best northern dessert variety ever grown.

Old-Fashioned Limbertwig - Good for fresh eating, pies, cider, and keeping.  Has an unusual, lemony flavor.  Medium size fruit, somewhat rough-skinned, greenish yellow with a red blush.  Weeping type.  Another of our better-selling trees.

Ozark Pippin - We obtained starts of this tree from our good friend Richard Moyer of King College in Bristol, Tennessee.  A biology professor and fruit explorer, Richard tracked this rare Tennessee cultivar to a farm belonging to one of his colleagues.  Ozark Pippin is a very large apple, roundish-conical, but flattened on its end.   Pale yellow skin is sometimes blushed pink, with a tan basin and large, reddish areolar spots.  Flesh fine-grained, juicy, and rich.  Originated about 1850 on a farm belonging to Benjamin Ford of Washington County, Tennessee.  Also called Deaderick.

Paradise Winter Sweet - An old fruit lithograph in our collection describes the Paradise as follows:  “Productive, excellent and of a fine appearance.  Tree hardy and vigorous.  Fruit large and regularly formed.  November to March.”  Samples of this variety were sent to pomologist A.J. Downing around 1842 by a Mr. Garber of Columbia, Pennsylvania.  The apple probably originated near Paradise, Pennsylvania.  Fruit is dull green or light yellow, with a faint blush.  The fine-grained and aromatic flesh is sometimes described as having a pear-like flavor. 

Pink Pearl - Selected from a group of thirty other pink-fleshed varieties by California fruit breeder, Albert Etter in 1944.  Medium size, skin cream and pale green, sometimes blushed red.  Has a rich, sweet, aromatic flesh.  Highly esteemed as a cooking and dessert apple.  Makes a colorful applesauce.

Polly Eades - Advertised in the 1934, American Fruit Grower as a “Golden Jubilee Variety,” Polly Eades was discovered in 1844 by nurseryman W.A. Sandefur, Sr. on a farm belonging to Ms. Polly Eades, two miles east of Robards, Kentucky.  The tree was thought to be a seedling of Horse apple.  Fruit above medium, roundish conical, skin golden yellow with a bronzy red blush.  Flesh tender, juicy, aromatic, subacid to tart.  Blooms late, bears early and heavily, resistant to fire blight.  Good for cooking, drying or eating out of hand.  Stores and ships well for a summer apple.

Pound Sweet - People who know this old variety are eager to keep it going.  We have offered it at different times in limited supply.  Fruit large to very large, golden yellow.  Excellent for baking.  Ripens mid to late-September.   A 1960’s first-grade reader in our library tells of a child who cannot wait to pick the first Pound Sweets ripening in the family orchard.  Would that such readers were being written today.

Ralls Genet - This apple is named after two men:  Edmund Charles Genet, ambassador to the United States from France in the early 1800’s, and Caleb Ralls, a nurseryman from Amherst County, Virginia.  According to the 1870 Report of the American Pomological Society, it was none other than Thomas Jefferson who encouraged the propagation of the Ralls.  As the story goes, Jefferson obtained cuttings from his friend, “Citizen Genet,” and passed them along to Ralls (who lived near Jefferson’s summer home) to graft.  The Ralls variety then went on to become very popular in the Ohio Valley, and in 1939 it was crossed with Red Delicious by the Japanese.  The resulting apple has claimed a significant share of the commercial market as the now popular Fuji.  Medium-size, roundish oblate.  Greenish-yellow skin is mottled, flushed, and streaked with hues of pink, red and crimson. Flesh is crisp and juicy.  Hangs on the tree until Christmas.  Good for keeping through the winter.  Recommended as a frost pocket apple as it blooms two weeks later than most other varieties, thus the nickname, Neverfail.  Has a twiggy growth habit and a tendency to overbear, requiring careful annual pruning.

Reasor Green - First disseminated by our forebears at the Silver Leaf Nurseries of Lee County, Virginia in 1887.  This tree was thought to be extinct for a number of years, but our good friend Harold Jerrell of the Lee County, Virginia extension office helped us obtain scions the Spring of 2001 from “Hop” Slemp of Dryden, Virginia.  Fruit roundish ovate, green with a faint to prominent scarlet blush.  Has the peculiar habit of drying when wounded, instead of rotting.  Flavor mild, juicy and excellent. (For more information on this apple, see the article, “Apples of Your Eye,” in the Nov. 2002 issue of Smithsonian magazine at smithsonianmag.si.edu.)

Red Horse - This variety was sent to us by a lady from Oak Ridge, Tennesse—whose name, regrettably, did not make it into our Scion Source file.  We have offered the Red Horse in limited quantity for a number of years, and are listing it now as a “first choice” variety because it makes one of the best dried apples we have ever tasted.  Medium size, dull red skin, a very thrifty grower, ripening mid-summer. 

Red Limbertwig - This old Virginia apple has also been called Limbertwig, James River, Green Limbertwig, Mountain Limbertwig, Common Limbertwig, American Limbertwig, and Red Jewel.  Apple historian, Lee Calhoun thinks that it may be the parent of the many Limbertwig cultivars.  Red Limbertwig is described in one of our turn-of-the-century nursery plates as “an Old Southern variety that ought to be in every orchard south of the Potomac River; dull red color; sub-acid flavor; fine grower, bearer and keeper.”  Wrote the late Henry Morton of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, “Well-known here in the Smoky Mountains as a commercial apple…good for fresh eating, cider, apple butter, jelly.  Keeps all winter.”   One of our favorite fall apples.    

Red Royal Limbetwig - We quote Henry Morton again for a wonderful, if rustic, description of the Red Royal Limbertwig:  “An excellent variety…This is not a type of Red Limbertwig, but a type of Royal Limbertwig.  This apple is large, round and some will be a bit conical, red with greenish yellow with stripe, and white dots, but if tree has sufficient sunshine and proper care the color will be red all over with white pips or dots.  Very aromatic, firm and crisp, very rich unusual pleasing taste.  One of the best for fresh eating, apple butter, cider—all purpose.  Keeps all winter.  When one eats a Red Royal Limbertwig although they are large, one apple is usually not enough.  The rich spicy aromatic flavor usually causes one to want another of these fine apples.  Apple butter made from this variety and many other Limbertwigs will be aromatic when taken from the container at the table…We recommend this variety to the home and commercial grower.  Tree is strong, sturdy and a vigorous grower and easy to manage…Ripens late September early October.”  Need we say more?

Roxbury Russet - One of the oldest American apples.  Originated in Roxbury, Massachusetts in the early 1600’s.  Large fruit keeps very well into April or May.  Green skin covered with brown russeting.  Good for eating out of hand, exceedingly sweet, excellent for cider.  Vigorous tree, tends to biennial bearing, pollinator required.  Ripens October.  Beech said, “The Roxbury is the most popular russet apple cultivated in New York.”  Hogg said, “As a late winter dessert apple it is not to be surpassed.”

Royal Limbertwig - A very large apple.  Ranges from dull red to crimson on yellow.  High flavor, excellent quality.  Juicy, firm and very aromatic.  Semi-weeping.  A dependable cropper.  Ripens October to February, but does not keep as well as Red Limbertwig.  Notes Lee Calhoun, “Royal Limbetwig seems to be better adapted to warmer areas of the South.”  Recommended by the University of Illinois Agricultural Experimentation Station in 1896 as high quality sort.

Rusty Coat - Similar to Roxbury Russet or Golden Russet, only darker.  Rusty Coat is by far the most popular russet apple in our region.  Dries and keeps well.  Sweet to subacid, with an unusual, nutty flavor, similar to an Asian pear.  Ripens fall.  Very resistant to scab. 

Salome - Originated about 1853 in Ottowa, Illinois.  Salome’s small size and poor color doomed it for commercial production, but it is a fine variety for keeping and fresh eating.  Fruit pale yellow, mottled with pinkish red.  A good producer, resistant to scab.  Ripens late.

Seek-No-Further - A high-quality Northern dessert apple—and the name says it all.  Writes Beach (1903) “[Seek-No-Further] is not remarkably attractive in appearance, but at its best it has a peculiarly pleasant, rich, mild, subacid flavor which has made it popular.”  Originated in Westfield, MA before 1796.  Fruit medium, roundish conical, dull yellow or pale green.  Ripens September to October.

Sheepnose - Also known as Crow Egg or Black Gilliflower, Sheepnose is especially good for drying.  Extremely conical; skin dull red over yellow; flesh fine-grained, almost sweet.  A favorite winter apple in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.  As with most varieties, it ripens earlier in the Piedmont.

Smokehouse - An old Pennsylvania apple known for its fine flavor and ability to produce a good crop on poor soils and in the worst exposures.  So named because it grew as a seedling by the smokehouse of a Lancaster County farmer.  Red stripes over yellow.  Very juicy, faint yellow flesh, chewy.  Ripens September and keeps well into the winter.  Noted for its cider-like flavor.

Smokey Mt. Limbertwig - From the collection of Henry Morton.  We do not have a fruiting tree of this Limbertwig in our orchard and have not been able to turn up a description.  We offer this tree, nevertheless, on the strength of Mr. Morton’s reputation as a rescuer of some of the best old mountain apples ever grown.

Spartan - A (McIntosh x Newtown Pippin) cross, noted for its high flavor and good keeping.  Spartan is dark red with white flesh.  Tree is very productive and bears early.  Fruit ripens October, keeps until January.  A great lunchbox apple.  We have a few small whips available.

Spice of Old Virginia - Scions of this tree come to us from Ron Joyner of Lansing, North Carolina.  Perhaps the same apple as Virginia Spice, sold in 1859 by Hopewell Nurseries of Fredericksburg, Virginia, this tree is new to us; but with a name like Spice of Old Virginia, we think that it is much more than a pig in a poke.

Spigold - A Northern Spy x Golden Delicious cross.  Orchardist Ed Fackler says, “This is perhaps the finest apple I’ve ever eaten.”  Fruit is red striped over green; flesh juicy, sweet, distinctively flavored.  Ripens late, a good keeper.  Tree vigorous, requiring early training.  Biennial bearer.  Requires cross pollination.

Spitzenburg - Also known as Esopus Spitzenburg, this renowned dessert apple was known to Americans even before the Revolutionary War and is said to be Thomas Jefferson’s favorite.  Spitzenburg has been described as the “finest apple in the world when perfectly ripe.”  Its large oblong fruit is a lively, brilliant red covered with yellow specks and gray dots.  Flesh is crisp, aromatic, fine-grained and juicy, with a rich, spicy flavor.  Has a distinctive, weeping appearance and tends to biennial bearing.  Fruit ripens unevenly late September to early October; flavor is enhanced in storage, peaking late December.  Will keep until May.  Pollinator required.  Problems with scab, canker and collar rot are not uncommon.  Still, Spitzenburg is a must for connoisseurs of American dessert apples. 

St. Edmunds Pippin - Originated and Bury, St. Edmunds, 1870.  Perhaps the most beautiful of all russet apples. Described by one pomological writer as a “uniformly flat-round fruit.  Entirely covered with a flawless, smooth, pure golden or fawn colored russet.  Very juicy, crisp, yellowish flesh [with a] rich pear-like flavor.”  Great for cider or fresh eating, with a distinctive tangy sweetness.  Has a compact growth habit and is a heavy but irregular cropper.   Ripens early September before most other russets.  A tip and spur bearer, this tree requires careful pruning and thinning.  Fruit bruises easily and does not store well.  Recognized as one of the six best apples of England.

Stayman Winesap - Seedling of the original Winesap, introduced by Dr. Stayman of Kansas, 1866.  Fruit dull red over yellow.  Spicy-tart flavor.  Ripens October.  Must have a pollinator to set fruit.  One of the best apples for baking and cider.  Now popular, Stayman is described in one of our great-grandfather, Elmer Davis’s, turn-of-the-century nursery plates as “the coming apple.” 

Summer Rambo - A French apple that reportedly originated in the village of Rambure, near Abbeville, France before 1535.  Popular in the U.S. since colonial times, Rambo is medium to large with bright red stripes over a green base.   Tree vigorous with a spreading habit, very productive.  Flesh rich, mild, subacid.  Makes an apple butter that is hard to beat.  (See illustration pg. 18, Rambour D’ Ete’.)

Sweet Sixteen - Developed at the University of Minnesota, 1978, as a cross of Malinda and Northern Spy.  Apple is medium to large, noted for its crisp, sweet flesh, and unique banana-nut flavor.   An excellent dessert apple, good for pies and sauces.  Tree is annually productive and very cold hardy, late blooming and precocious.  Also resistant to fire blight and scab.  Available on full-size or semi-dwarf roots.

Twenty Ounce Pippin - Originated in upstate New York, 1840.  As the name implies, Twenty Ounce is a very large apple.  Attractive fruit, red stripes over a greenish background.  Semi-firm, white flesh.   Tree extremely vigorous, bears young, medium size at maturity.  Ripens unevenly September to October.  One of the premier cooking apples of the nineteenth century.  Noted for disease resistance, but we have seen fire blight strikes on some of our trees.  Apparently, Twenty Ounce is vigorous enough to outgrow any damage.

Victoria Limbertwig - An apple of striking beauty with its purple color and white dots.  Very juicy with a rich sweet flavor, excellent quality.  Rated tops for fresh eating.  Keeps all winter.  Weeping type.

Virginia Beauty - An 1826 chance seedling from Carrol (then Grayson) County, Virginia.  Dark, dull-red skin, with a greenish yellow cap near the stem.  Flavor is unique, sweet and mellow with hints of cherry and almond.  Good for eating out of hand.  Also a good keeper.  Very popular in Southwest Virginia, and one of our best-selling trees.  We heartily recommend this apple to every home orchardist.

Virginia Gold - A cross of Albemarle Pippin and Golden Delicious, made at the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station some 40 years ago.  Seems now to be catching on with commercial growers.  Medium fruit, yellow skin.  Not as sprightly as Albemarle Pippin or as sweet as Golden Delicious, but highly praised for its fine flavor and excellent keeping.  Great for sauces and pies.  Shows some susceptibility to summer rots.

Walker Pippin - An old southern apple of some distinction.  Likely the same as Walker’s Yellow.  Fruit is medium to large, golden yellow, with a reportedly firm and juicy flesh that is rather tart.  Ripens October-February.  This tree has not fruited for us in the orchard, but has performed well in our nursery beds, growing easily 5’ in a single season.  We think that this variety shows promise as a disease resistant sort.

White Limbertwig - Like most of our Limbertwig varieties, this one comes from the Henry Morton collection.   White Limbertwig has not fruited for us, but we can affirm that, like Walker Pippin, it is an extremely vigorous grower in the nursery.  Looking for a Limbertwig cultivar that grows like a weed?  This is certainly the one to try.

Winesap - We are now offering two strains of what we presume to be old-time Winesaps—one from Lee County, Virginia, the other from Johnson City, Tennessee. These trees are hardy and productive.  The apples are dark red, medium to large. Their rich, vinous flavor is like an explosion in the mouth.

Winter Banana - Originated in Indiana, 1876—now widely known.  Large yellow fruit with a rosy cheek and characteristic “suture” line.  Flesh is crisp and a bit coarse, juicy, tangy, aromatic.  Flavor faintly reminiscent of banana.  Good for fresh eating and cider, but turns mealy in storage.  Winter Banana is heavily spurred and an excellent pollinator tree.  If you plan on planting half a dozen varieties, consider making one of them a Winter Banana.

Winter Jon - A hard-to-find southern variety, also known as Sour Jon.  Fruit is small, greenish yellow.  Tree hardy and vigorous.  According to James Lawson of Lawson’s Nursery in middle Georgia, Winter Jon is “real good for pies, jelly, frying, or eating out of hand when full[y] ripe.”

Wismer’s Dessert - A northern variety, originating in Ontario, 1897.  Colored like a Spitzenburg, Wismer’s Dessert has a yellow flesh that is fine-flavored and aromatic.  Ripens late.  Writes Fred Sears in Productive Orcharding, 1927, “Wismer’s Dessert may be a better apple [than Baldwin], but so few people know it that the orchard man can sell a thousand barrels of Baldwins to one of Wismer’s Dessert.”

Wolf River - Originated as a seedling of Alexander near Freemont, Wisconsin, 1875.  One of the better known “big” apples.  Dull red over yellow.  Flesh somewhat coarse, juicy, subacid.  Ripens October.  Good for baking and pies.  Rates with Maiden’s Blush as a top drying apple.  Tree large, vigorous, long lived and productive, though susceptible to fire blight.  A great variety for putting away lots of apple butter.

Yates - Another old Georgia apple, dating to 1813.  Small fruit, white skin mostly covered with shades and stripes of dark red.  Flesh tinged red, very juicy.  Superb spicy flavor.  Ripens late and keeps very well.  A top winter cider apple for the deep South.   Hardy Zones 6-8.

Yellow Transparent - An old Russian apple dating to 1870.  Commonly known as June Apple.  Comes into bearing very early and yields immense crops.  Fruit is medium to large with greenish-yellow skin, nearly white when fully ripe. Flesh is light, fine-grained, juicy, rich, subacid.  Cooks up in about five minutes, and makes a buttermilk biscuit taste like breakfast for a king.  Pollinator required—a second  Transparent will do.  This is one of our best-selling trees.

York Imperial - Often known by it original name, Johnson’s Fine Winter—or its corruption, Jonathan Winter—this apple originated near York, Pennsylvania, 1830.  York is easy to recognize because of its lopsided (or more properly stated: oblique) shape.  Fruit is medium to large, with a orange-red blush.  Yellow flesh is sprightly, subacid.  Good for cooking or eating fresh through the winter.  Charles Downing described York in the 1850’s as an “imperial keeper.”

 

 

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Last modified: July 15, 2005.