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Benham Apple
Sent to USDA illustrators by our great-
great-grandfather, C.C. Davis,
Nurseries, Virginia, 1898.


Cox's Orange Pippin


Gloria Mundi

Henry Clay

King David


Mammoth Black Twig

Ralls Genet

Royal Limbertwig

Summer Rambo

Virginia Beauty

York Imperial

Apple Descriptions
(Varieties on this page are grafted onto M111, semidwarf rootstock unless otherwise noted.)

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 may be said today.  Not an attractive fruit:  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 develops in January.  Good for pies, cooking, or eating out of hand.  Susceptible to scab on clay soils.  Originated in New York in the early 1700’s.   A classic Blue Ridge apple. 

Arkansas Black -  Probably a seedling of Stayman Winesap.  Ark. Black is a medium to large apple.  Waxy skin is dark red, nearly black.  Flesh is yellow with a distinctive full flavor.  According to one grower, Arkansas Black is “hard enough to knock a dog down when you first pick it.”  But it mellows nicely in storage.  The tree is very disease resistant, and is perhaps the best late, no-spray keeping apple on the market.  A slice of Arkansas dipped in caramel on a cold winter day is a treat you won’t soon forget.  Originated in Benton County, Arkansas around 1870. 

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, and to competition from the McIntosh.  Large fruit, bright red skin with white dots.  Blooms very early.  A triploid variety, it must be cross pollinated.  Baldwin trees are still found at old home sites; these high-flavored apples are well worth a special trip to gather. 

Ben Davis - The most widely planted apple in the South after the Civil War.   A large, dull-red apple; vigorous, dependable, productive. Keeps like a cobblestone, but the flavor is only passable.  According to Hedrick in the The Cyclopedia of Hardy Fruits, Th origin of Ben Davis is not known, but it has been cultivated in parts of the South since 1800.  It seems not to have been described until the 1857 edition of Downings great book [The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Americal].  Octogenarian, Genevieve Gray, of South Elgin, Illinois sent us this story about the Ben several years ago:  “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, even if blindfolded.  He was challenged, of course, and given apple after apple to taste—and he kept identifying each correctly.  Finally, one of his challengers, in desperation to fool him, grabbed a large piece of cork and carved it into the shape of an apple.  The man bit out a chunk, hesitated, bit out another, then finally said, “I’m not real sure…I think it’s a Ben Davis…But if it is, it’s the best one I’ve ever eaten.”

Benham – Grown in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee at the turn of the 20th century.  “Truly an apple for the connoisseur, [the] sugar and acid being perfectly balanced,” says Kentucky orchardist, John Creech.  Fruit medium or above; skin very thin, yellowish-brown. Ripens late summer.  Used for fresh eating, cooking and drying.  Does not keep well, but the deficiency is easily overlooked.  Popular still in southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky.  Also known as the “Brown Apple.”

Betsy Deaton – We heard of this apple several years ago from a  gentleman in Mountain City, Tennessee.  Modern cultivar names sound technical and crass in  comparison.  Consider Nova Easy Grow (a hybrid tomato?) or Delcon (a corporate merger?).  If you want to add some poetry to your orchard, Betsy Deaton is the tree. 

Black Ben Davis – Black Ben is a seedling of Ben Davis dating to 1880.  Medium to large fruit, slightly conical, deep red all over.  Pushed by Stark Brothers years ago 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.    Ripens October.  Weeping form.  Noted at a 1914 Georgia Horticultural Society meeting as disease resistant.  We highly recommend this full-flavored apple.

Bramley’s Seedling – The most popular English cooking apple ever grown.  Fruit large, somewhat flat, greenish-yellow with broad, broken brown and red stripes.  Sharply acid flavor, high in vitamin C. Makes a fine cider.  Blooms late, requires a pollinator, and shows some tendency to biennial bearing.  Ripens early October to November.  Keeps well, becoming quite greasy in storage.  Dates to 1809, when Ms. Mary Anne Brailsford of Nottinghamshire, England, “placed a pip in a pot,” and the rest is apple history.

Buckingham - A hundred years ago Buckingham, also known as Equinetely or Fall Queen, was one of the most popular apples in the South.  Fruit is large, yellow-green with mottled red stripes.  Skin thick; flesh crisp, juicy, subacid.  Ripens September to October.  Dates to 1817, and 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 1500’s, was grown by Thomas Jefferson, and is the feature fruit in Claude Monet’s still life, Apples and Grapes. Blooms mid-season.  Large, ribbed, full-flavored.  Higher in vitamin C than an orange.  Ripens to a bright yellow in October.  Writes Robert Nitschke of Southmeadow Fruit Gardens, “Calville is not for the schoolboy’s lunchbox”—this for its tartness.  But tops for pies, sauce, cider. According to apple expert, Tom Burford, Calville Blanc “does not produce fruit of the highest quality until it has cropped for a number of years.”    

Carolina Red June
– This old variety is still quite popular in the South.  It is one of the best early cooking apples.  Fruit small, 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.  One of our better selling apples.
Cathead – “A large round apple flattened at the ends [with the stem] so deeply sunk as to be imperceptible,“ notes William Coxe (1817).  Greenish yellow skin, white flesh.  Good cooked or dried.

Chenango Strawberry - One of the most inviting apples by name.  The conical, medium-sized fruit is extremely aromatic, filling an entire room with its aroma.  Skin is shaded, splashed and mottled with crimson, red, and white.  Blooms late.  Flesh white, juicy, tender, mildly tart, with an intense flavor.  Chenango must be picked when it is fully ripe, or it will be corky and tasteless.  Susceptible to fire blight, but highly esteemed where known as a table fruit of high quality and great beauty.  Said to have originated in Chenango County, New York, 1854.  Ripens late summer in the South, early autumn apple in the North.

Cox’s Orange Pippin – An extremely popular English apple, 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; ripe Sept. to Oct. Does well in frost pockets.  Offspring of Ribston Pippin.  Grandparent of Gala.  A classic apple pie variety.

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 strikingly covered with crimson stripes and splashes.  Tolerable for fresh eating, best as an early cooking apple.  In England, used for making tarts.  

Early Harvest
– The 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. 

Enterprise – Large round fruit, glossy, dark red color.  Flesh yellow, firm and crisp, with a rich, very spicy flavor.  Ripens October.  Stores up to 6 months.  Resistant to fireblight, moderately resistant to cedar apple rust and powdery mildew.  One of the best, new disease resistant apples. 

Fallawater - Originated in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania.  A very large green apple, sometimes six inches across.  Good for cooking, applesauce, drying and eating out of hand.  Flesh coarse and crisp, “mildly sweet, unassertive, straightforward.”  Popular in the 19th century and still sought after in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Produces enormous crops of apples, but tends to biennial bearing.  In the South, Fallawater does best at elevations above 1500 ft.  Below that mark the fruit may drop prematurely and rot on the tree.  Ripens October.  Also known as Mountain Pippin, Tulpehocken, Falder, Mollywhopper, and Pim’s Beauty of the West.

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 origin is unknown.  Fruit large and round, skin thin, sometimes faintly blushed.  If you’re looking for the big “Pound Pippin” that grew on Granddaddy’s farm, this could 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.  One of the best mid-season  apples in our orchard.

Freedom – Tree 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. Developed at Cornell.   One of the best new apples on the market.

The mark of a man is one, who will plant a tree when he is old.
                                                                                              –Elijah Grant Edens

Gala - Gala was developed in New Zealand in the 1920’s but not introduced until 1965.  Medium-sized, oval to round, with reddish-orange skin.  Extremely firm flesh, very juicy, sweet and mildly aromatic.  The apple is somewhat bland when cooked, but the typical first response on biting into one is: “Best apple I ever had in my life”  For this reason, we think it is one of a handful of new apples likely to endure.  Gala is the offspring of Golden Delicious and Kidd’s Orange Red. 

Gloria Mundi – Originated Long Island, New York.  Uncommonly large, weighing from twenty to twenty-seven ounces.  Also known as Monstrous Pippin.  Skin yellow with numerous white spots; flesh white, tender, juicy, subacid.  “It is very excellent for cooking,” writes Coxe, “[though] its uncommon size subjects it to be[ing] stolen.”

Goldrush – Fruit conic-round, medium to large; skin deep green to orange-yellow.  Flesh is hard, crisp, breaking, full-flavored.  Writes Roger Yepsen, “Goldrush delivers on of the most stimulating experiences to be found on a tree…[It] has a tart, winy, clean edge that feels effervescent on the tongue, with just enough sweetness to keep the apple from being too aggressive.”  Keeps up to ten months.  Immune to scab, resistant to powdery mildew and fireblight, susceptible to cedar apple rust.  Blooms late.  Developed at Purdue, released 1994.  

Golden Delicious - One of the most popular apples ever grown, and the parent of numerous crosses:  Virginia Gold, Jonagold, Spigold, Gala,  Honeygold, Mutsu, and many others.  Conical fruit, medium to large; golden-yellow; with a fine, sweet flavor with hints of anise.  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, and then built a two-story, woven wire cage around it to deter any would-be propagators. 

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, skin brownish russet.  Flesh fine-grained, light yellow and “brightly flavorful.”  Vigorous habit but susceptible to rust and blight, and a strong tendency to biennial bearing.  Fruit ripens late October and will hang on the tree into the winter.  Keeps till spring. 

Golden Sweet - A celebrated Connecticut fruit.  Medium to large with 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.  Make a wonderful, tart apple pie.

Grimes Golden - Medium to large golden yellow apple with a rich, spicy-sweet flavor.  Delightful aroma.  A longtime favorite for home use.  Good for juice, cider, and eating out of hand.  Ripens October, keeps until January.  Like

Hawkeye Red Delicious - This is the original Red Delicious discovered by C.M. Stark of Stark Bro’s Nursery on the farm of Jesse Hiatt in Madison County, Iowa.  According to 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.”  Through the years, many high-colored sports of the Red Delicious have been selected for propagation.  But these represent the temporary triumph of glitz over glory, and have, in turn, come to symbolize modern agribusiness at its worst.  It may be truly said, however, that the original Red is a fine-tasting, striped red apple that will bear abundantly in a variety of climates and on almost any site.  Ripens Sept./Oct.  Keeps well in cold storage.

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 is a mystery.  Fruit medium and of a 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 Virginia Crab.  “This is the most celebrated cider apple ever grown in the South, making a dry cider unsurpassed in flavor and keeping ability,” writes Lee Calhoun.  Fruit small, round, green.  Ripens fall or winter in most of the South, mid-August in the deep South.  Rich flavor.  Notes an 1879 North Carolina nursery catalog, “The cider [from the Hewe’s Crab]…keeps perfectly sweet all winter and is clear and sparkling.”

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.  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.  Best if picked early in the season.  Sometimes used as a landscape specimen. 

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.  Once the most widely planted variety in Europe.  Requires a pollinator.  Great for fresh eating.  Has the aroma of Golden Delicious and the sprightliness of Jonathan.

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 mid-season varieties for eating out of hand, and excellent for cider.   Does not keep well, and does not tolerate the lowlands of the South. 

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 October.  One of the most flavorful apples we offer. 

King Luscous - Originated in North Carolina in 1935, as a chance seedling.  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 more flavorful.  Again borrowing from Yepsen, “Although very few nurseries carry the tree, it is worth tracking down.” We certainly agree.

Kinnairds Choice – A seedling of Winesap originating in Franklin, Tennessee in the mid-1800’s.  An old favorite in North Georgia.  Skin is an attractive dark red, with some yellowing when grown on a shaded site.  Described in 1896 as “the finest apple grown in middle Tennessee.” 

Liberty - Medium-size fruit, red all over.  Firm, juicy, flavorful flesh. Tree vigorous, heavily spurred, productive.  Resistant to to blight, scab, mildew and rust.  Highly recommended.  Pairs nicely with Freedom.  Developed at Cornell, 1978.  Linage includes Macoun, Wealthy, Jersey Black, McIntosh, Rome, Malus foribunda, and P.R.I. 54-12.  Who says apple breeding isn’t fun? 

Liveland Raspberry – Another Russian apple once well-known in the South.  Fruit is round, medium to large with red stripes over a cream background.  White flesh is often stained red, very tender (“like eating foam”), mild, subacid, turning sweet.  Ripens early.  Tends to biennial production.  Mature trees are not very large.  Hardy to -50 F.

Lodi - A 1911 cross of Yellow Transparent and Montgomery.   Lodi is larger, firmer, and a better keeper than its famous parent—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.

Lowry – Scions of this Old Virginia apple come to us out of Chilhowie, Virginia.  The Lowry is a thrifty grower in the nursery.  The dark red apples are medium-size, ripening September/October.  A good, productive sweet apple. 

Lyman’s Large Summer - First exhibited at the 1847 Michigan Horticultural Society meeting.  Once thought to have been lost to cultivation entirely.  Fruit is large, smooth, green sometimes yellow.  Excellent, crisp, juicy flesh.  Fine subacid flavor.  Very aromatic.  Ripens mid-August.  A great variety for the dead heat of summer.

Magnum Bonum - According to apple 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/October.   Popular for wildlife plantings.

Maiden’s Blush - One of the oldest American apples.  Coxe wrote in 1817 that Maiden’s Blush was popular in the Philadelphia markets.  Fruit is medium-size, yellow with an attractive red blush.  Flesh is light, crisp, tender, mildly subacid.  Good for cooking, drying, fresh eating.  One of the prettiest apples we’ve seen.

Until the year 1756 I continued to retail goods, besides following my trade as a tailor; about which time I grew uneasy on account of my business growing too cumbersome…so in a while[I] wholly laid down merchandise, following my trade as a tailor, myself only, having no prentice.  I also had a nursery of apple trees, in which I spent a good deal of time hoeing, grafting, trimming and innoculating.  

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.  Ripens October – April.

McIntosh - The old standard among Northern apples.  Medium size, mostly red, with green coloring where shaded.  The tough skin of the McIntosh makes it a good shipper.  Medium fruit, red over yellow, spicy, aromatic.  In the South, McIntosh is best suited to higher elevations.  Introduced in 1870, presumed to be a cross of Fameuse and Detroit Red.  Offspring include Cortland, Empire, Macoun, Spartan.

Mollies Delicious - Large fruit, slightly conical, full red color—but not a Red Delicious cultivar.  Has a “snappy, high-quality flesh.”  Tree is vigorous and productive, will “re-bloom” if hit by a frost.  A very heat tolerant variety, Mollies Delicious will produce apples as far south as Louisiana.  Originated in Brunswick, NJ, 1966. 

Mother – A high-quality American dessert apple dating to 1844.   Small to medium, bright red fruit.  Yellow flesh is crisp and juicy, a mix of sweet and subacid flavor.  “Best in the orchard,” says our friend, Clyde Poore, of Bristol, Tennessee.  Downing said, “This admirable fruit is to our taste unsurpassed in flavor of any of its season.”  Blooms late.  Ripens Sept./Oct. 

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—“the most polite tree in the orchard,” says grower, Jim Tomlinson, of Duffield, Virginia.  A dependable cropper, and one of our better selling trees.  Perhaps the best apple in the Limbertwig family.

Northern Spy - A seedling apple originating in New York in the early 1800’s.  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!) and tends to biennial production.  Recommended by Fred Lape, author of Apples and Man, as perhaps the best northern dessert variety ever grown.  And when you taste it, you understand why.

Ozark Pippin - We obtained starts of this tree from our good friend Richard Moyer of King College in Bristol, Tennessee.  Richard tracked this rare Tennessee cultivar to a farm belonging to one of his  colleagues.  Ozark Pippin is a very large apple, roundish-conical.   Its 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 in Washington County, Tennessee.  Also called Deaderick.  Though it is little known, we believe that the Ozark Pippin is worthy of wide dissemination. 

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.”  First noted by  pomologist A.J. Downing 1842, the apple probably originated near Paradise, Pennsylvania.  Fruit is dull green or light yellow, with a faint blush.  The fine-grained, aromatic flesh is sometimes described as having a pear-like flavor.  

The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to its culture.                                                               
—Thomas Jefferson

Polly Eades - Advertised in the 1934, American Fruit Grower as a “Golden Jubilee Variety.” Polly Eades was discovered in 1844 on a farm in Robards, Kentucky, and is 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.  Ripens summer. 

Pound Sweet - People who know this old variety are eager to keep it going.  Fruit large to very large, amber to golden yellow.  Excellent for baking.  Ripens mid to late-September.   A 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 books were being written today. 

Ralls Genet - According to the 1870 Report of the American Pomological Society, Thomas Jefferson encouraged the propagation of Ralls Genet.  As the story goes, Jefferson obtained cuttings of the apple from his friend, Edmund Charles Genet, the French ambassador to the United States, and passed them on to another friend, nurseryman, Caleb Ralls, to graft.  The Ralls then went on to become very popular in the Ohio Valley.  And in 1939 it was crossed with Stark’s 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 crisp and juicy.  Ripens late.  Recommended for frost pockets as it blooms two weeks later than most other varieties, thus the nickname, Neverfail.  Its twiggy growth habit and tendency to overbear demands 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 in 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 of the Reasor Green story, see the article, "Apples of Your Eye".

Red Free – Outstanding is the word that everyone uses to describe this new mid-season cultivar.  Medium fruit, glossy red.  Flesh light, crisp and juicy, mildly tart to sweet. Ripens August.  Resistant to fireblight and mildew; immune to scab and cedar rust.  Released by the P.R.I. breeding program, 1981.  A top drying apple.

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 offer the Red Horse in limited quantity, as it is not well know, but would offer that it makes one of the best dried apples we have ever tasted.  Medium size, dull red skin, a 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 is the parent of the many Limbertwig cultivars.  Red Limbertwig is described in one of our great grandfather’s, 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.”  The late Henry Morton of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, wrote of this apple: “Well-known here in the Smoky Mountains as a commercial apple…good for fresh eating, cider, apple butter, jelly.  Keeps all winter.”  

Red Royal Limbetwig - We quote Henry Morton, again, for a compelling description of the Red Royal Limbertwig: “An excellent variety… large, round and some will be a bit conical, red with greenish yellow, stripes and white dots... Very aromatic, firm and crisp, very rich unusual pleasing taste...When one eats a Red Royal Limbertwig although they are large, one apple is usually not enough.”  Need we say more?

Red Streak – A celebrated English cider apple.  Fruit small, oblong; skin red, streaked and spotted with yellow.  Hangs late, must be mellowed in storage to make the finest cider.  Notes Coxe, “An excellent kitchen fruit in the latter part of the winter…Difficult to fine fit for bottling:  when perfectly cleared, it ranks among our first fruit liquors.” 
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, very sweet, excellent for cider.  Vigorous grower.

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.  Reportedly does well in the warmer parts of the South.

Rusty Coat – Color similar to Golden Russet, only darker, like a brown grocery bag.  Medium size, roundish fruit.  Productive.  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. 

Sheepnose - Also known as Crow Egg or Black Gilliflower, Extremely conical form; skin dull red over yellow; flesh fine-grained, sweet.  A favorite winter apple in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.  Ripens earlier in the Piedmont.  Especially good for baking and drying. 

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. 

Spigold - A 1953 cross of Northern Spy and Golden Delicious.  Orchardist Ed Fackler says, “This is perhaps the finest apple I’ve ever eaten.”  Fruit is striped red over green; flesh juicy, sweet, distinctively flavored.  Ripens late, a good keeper.  Tree vigorous: early training is essential. Biennial bearer, needs a pollinator.

Spitzenburg – Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple—known also as the Esopus Spitzenburg.  Described by one writer as the “finest apple in the world when perfectly ripe.”  The large, oblong fruit is a lively red covered with yellow specks and gray dots.  Flesh is crisp, aromatic, fine-grained and juicy with a rich, spicy flavor.  The tree has a distinctive, weeping appearance.  Tends to biennial bearing.  Fruit ripens unevenly late September to early October; flavor is enhanced in storage.  Keeps until May.  Pollinator required.  Some disease susceptibility--scab in particular.  But a must variety for the connoisseur of Old Virginia dessert apples.   

St. Edmunds Pippin - Originated at Bury, St. Edmunds, England in 1870.  Perhaps the most beautiful of all russet apples. Lovingly described by one pomologist 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.  Ripens early September. 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, nursery lithographs as “the coming apple.”   Our trees are grafted from a tree in our grandfather, Paul Davis’s, orchard—and they are, in our opinion, one of the best tasting apples we offer. 

Summer Rambo - A French apple originating before 1535 in the village of Rambure, near Abbeville, France.  Popular in the U.S. since colonial days.  Rambo is medium to large, with bright red stripes over a green base.  The tree is extremely vigorous and productive—grows with a spreading habit.  Flesh rich, mild, subacid.  Makes a fine  apple butter.  Must be planted with a pollinator, as the tree is infertile.                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Sweet Bough – Generally regarded as the best early sweet apple.  Fruit large, very pale yellow.  Flesh white, juicy, tender, high-flavored.  Writes Cox, “It is the finest early table apple we have; and as an eating apple, is preferred to any other at the season in which it ripens, which is in July and August.” 

Sweet Sixteen - Developed at the University of Minnesota, 1978, a cross of Malinda and Northern Spy.  A medium to large apple, noted for its crisp, sweet flesh, and unique banana-nut flavor.  Excellent for dessert, pies and sauces.  Tree is annually productive and very cold hardy, late blooming and precocious.  Resistant to fire blight, rust and scab. 

Sweet Winesap – Yellow skin, red stripes.  Firm white flesh, fine and sweet.  Ripens late.  Excellent for eating, baking, cooking.  Keeps until May.  Very susceptible to fireblight. 

Twenty Ounce – Originated in New York in the early 1800’s.  Large, showy fruit, excellent for cooking.  Greenish yellow skin splashed with red or purplish red and striped with carmine.  Ripens August in the deep south, Sept. in most other southern states.  Should be used fairly soon after harvest.

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

If possible, have an orchard.  I know a clergyman of small income who brought up a family, very reputably, which he chiefly fed on apple dumplings.                                   
—Dr. Samuel Johnson

Virginia Beauty - A chance seedling from Carrol (then Grayson) County, Virginia, 1828.  Dark, dull-red skin, with a greenish cap near the stem.  Flavor is unique, sweet and mellow with hints of cherry and almond.  Wonderful for eating out of hand, and a fine keeper.  Very popular in Southwest Virginia—one of our best-selling trees.  We heartily recommend this apple to every home orchardist. 

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 firm, tart, juicy flesh.  Ripens October-February.  Tree is vigorous and disease resistant.

White Limbertwig – People who know this variety rave about its wonderful flavor.  The tree is vigorous and disease resistant.  One of the best in the Limbertwig family.

Williams Pride – Fruit medium, slightly conical, dull red all over.  Full flavor, moderately tart.  Very juicy, slightly spicy.  Ripe late July to early August.  High resistance to fire blight.  Scab immune.  Check out the PRI pedigree chart for this apple here.

Winesap - We are now offering two strains of 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 has an explosive quality your taste buds will be most grateful to experience.   

Winter Banana - Originated in Indiana, 1876.  Still grown in commercial orchards, primarily as a pollinator tree.  The large yellow fruit has a rosy cheek and characteristic “suture” line.  Flesh is crisp and a bit coarse, juicy, tangy, aromatic, faintly reminiscent of banana.  Good for fresh eating and cider, but the flesh turns mealy in storage.  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 thrifty.  According to James Lawson of Ball Ground, Georgia, Winter Jon is “real good for pies, jelly, frying, or eating out of hand when full[y] ripe.” 

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 September/October.  Good for baking and pies.  Rates with Maiden’s Blush as a top drying apple.  Tree large, vigorous, long lived and productive.  Susceptible to fire blight in our orchard, but the vigor of the tree overcomes the deficiency.  Great 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 extremely well.  A top winter cider apple for the deep South.   Hardy Zones 6-8.

Yellow Bellflower – Widely praised for its beauty and excellence.  Fruit is large, irregularly shaped. Skin bright yellow covered with white or russet dots.  Ripens October.  Excellent for pies and sauces.  A superior winter dessert apple.  Makes a good specimen tree in the lawn, as the blooms are large and attractive. 

Yellow Transparent - Commonly known as June Apple.  Comes into bearing very early and yields immense crops.  Fruit is medium to large with green skin turning  yellow, or 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.  Writes Lee Calhoun in Old Southern Apples, “Yellow Transparent was imported into this country by the USDA in 1870 from St. Petersburg, Russia, in the search for cold-hardy apples for the Great Plains."  Yellow Transparent is one of our best-selling trees.   

York Imperial - Often known by its original name, Johnson’s Fine Winter—or the corruption, Jonathan Winter.  Originated near York, Pennsylvania, 1830.  The fruit is easy to recognize because of its lopsided (or more properly stated) oblique form.  Fruit is medium to large, with an 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.”  If I were going to plant only three trees in my orchard, one of them would be a York. 

He who owns a rood of proper land in this country, and in the face of all the pomonal riches of the day, only raises crabs and chokepears deserves to lose the respect of all sensible men.                                                     
                                                                                         —Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852)

Copyright 2012 Tim Hensley