Hewes Crab blossom The Orchard at Sage Hen Farm: Failed Apple Trees

Descriptions of 15 apple varieties no longer growing in our orchard in Lodi, NY.

They are listed in rough order of ripening.



Origin & Date

Shape &

Color & Texture of Skin & Flesh

Year Planted
Uses &
Tree Size

Merits & Faults


Cole's Quince
(Quince of Cole)

[same as or confused with Seneca Spice & Seneca Favorite]
(parentage unknown)
before 1850


wider than classic apple shape, ribbed or knobby

rich; sweet to sub-acid

yellow, dotted; thick skinned

yellow, blushed; texture is crisp and tender


Fresh eating, culinary


Merits: Tree: annual; early bearer. Fruit: good for fresh & "first-rate" for cooking.

Faults: Fruit: poor keeper.

Merit or fault?: ripens over several weeks.

Ratings: AoNY: favorably mentioned, but not rated; NY1907: _ [Supplanted by better sorts]; Bull91: 5-6/* [97 & 99: no change]; B-H: g-vg; Can: best [but may refer to different apple]; Cole [son of its propagator]: "when in perfection, we have not seen its superior; Eliott: vg; Lowther: vg; ME94: vg/*; ME08: vg; Hooper: 2; UIll: vg for cooking (one of 17 of "greatest promise for general usefulness"); Ragan: vg; Waugh: fair

Dolgo Crab
(Siberian crab open pollinated)
before 1750


olive shaped


bright red

deep yellow stained with red


Ornamental, cider


Merits: Tree: naturally spreading; early pollinator; resistant to scab & many diseases; may be somewhat insect resistant. Fruit: prized for jelly, cider blending.

Faults: Fruit: quickly browning flesh

Merit or fault?: Tree: naturally small; has white, not light pink, blossoms.

Duchess of Oldenburg (Borovitsky, Duchess, Oldenburg)
(parentage unknown)
before 1700


classic apple shape, slightly ribbed


maroon over cream or green, blue bloom; moderately thick skinned

pale cream; semi-firm; texture is moderately fine-grained & juicy

first fruit: 2006




Merits: Tree: very hardy (ironclad); early bearer; heavy cropper of large fruit; well adapted to different soils and climates; bears fruits uniform in size & shape; fruits hang well on tree; require little pruning. Fruit: prized for early season cooking and sauce;

Faults: Tree: susceptible to various diseases. Fruit: poor keeper; becomes mealy when overripe; not prized for fresh eating.

Merit or fault?: Tree: tip bearer (pruning challenge); ripens over several weeks; tends to be biennial, but often annual; naturally small tree. Fruit: not very juicy (makes it good for baking); reports on flavor vary: not highly flavored, too tart, or well flavored.

Ratings: AoNY: g-vg for culinary purposes; NY1907: * [** in other regions]; NY1916: 13; Baker: NY (20); BC: good; Bull91: 4-5/** [97 & 99: no change]; B-H: described but not rated; Can; dessert fair, cooking good, commercial value - first class; Cole: excellent only for cooking; Lowther: G; Hooper: 2; ME94: good/**; MICH: f/m; Ont: 2/10/10/10; Ragan: good; Waugh: fair ; Wilkinson: good/*

(State Fair x MN 1691)
introduced 1998


classic apple shape

flavorful, sweet & tart

greenish yellow with red streaks and blush

white; fine; crunchy


Fresh eating



Merits: Tree: early bearer. Fruit: billed as crunchiest early season apple, longest storing (2 months) of early season apples.

Merit or fault?: color often dull

Ratings: [too new]

Special: I'm not including the exclamation point that is officially part of its name.

Ginger Gold
(unknown, but Golden Delicious or Newtown Pippin may be included in its parentage)

medium to large

wider than classic apple shape

spicy sweet; complex flavors

green-yellow with slight red blush; tough skinned

white; texture is crisp



Fresh eating


Merits: Tree: bears fruit uniform in size & shape. Fruit: non-browning flesh; does not bruise easily; excellent keeper for an early fall apple.

Faults: Tree: slow to mature; Fruit: not good for cooking or baking.

Merit or fault?: Tree: naturally large. Fruit: sweetness too cloying?

Rating: A21: vg

Summer Limbertwig
(Weeping Limbertwig)

(probably Red Limbertwig open pollinated)
Greensboro, North Carolina
introduced 1855



unusual, musky & spicy/sweet, 2 on the sweet-tart scale

Skin: pale yellow overlaid with pink and dark red striping with patches of russet; thick

Flesh: creamy yellow, fine-grained

Crispness: 3

Juiciness: 3


Fresh eating, culinary, cider

T2, extreme drooping

Fireblight: 2
Scab 2
PM: 2
CAR: 2

Merits: Tree: annual. Fruit: aromatic.

Faults: Fruit: dull color is not especially attractive.

Merit or fault?: Fruit: the distinctive "Limbertwig flavor" is both loved and disliked.

Ratings: Ragan: vg; Warder: vg, if not best

Special: may be the only limbertwig that ripens early enough to be successfully grown in northern climes.

Fameuse (Snow)
(parentage unknown)
before 1730

small to medium

classic apple shape

sweet, with some sub-acid
prominent red over yellow; moderately thin skinned
non-browning white; tender, aromatic, juicy

Fresh eating, culinary, cider


Merits: Tree: hardy and productive. Fruit: non-browning flesh.

Faults: Tree: biennial, upright growth. Fruit: susceptible to scab, tender; not a good keeper.

Ratings: AoNY: vg for dessert; NY1914: vg/X; A21: vg; Baker: NY (20), MA (6), IL; Bull91: 8-9/** [97 &99: no change]; B-H: vg; BBG; Can; dessert best, cooking fair, excellent for jellies, commercial value - first class; Elliot: vg; Hooper: 2; NE16; Lowther: vg; ME94: vg/**; Ont: 9/5/9/8; Ragan: vg; Waugh: vg; Wilkinson: vg-b/*; Y.

Hewes Crab (Virginia Crab)
(parentage unknown)
before 1730


classic apple shape

yellow, with some orange red blush; moderately thin skinned
non-browning white; tender, aromatic, juicy



Merits: Tree: annual, productive.

Faults: Tree: didn't seem to like the north. Fruit: not a good keeper.

Merit or fault?: Fruit: specifically for cider 

Special: Grown at Monticello, and claims are made that it was the favorite cider apple of both Washington and Jefferson. The Hewes crab grown today may be a sport of the original Hewes crab.

(Winekist Dakotas)

(Niedzwetzskyana or Red Vein Crab x unknown)
Brookings, SD
Introduced 1949



small to medium

classic shape

intense,  cranberryish, 4 to 5 on the sweet-tart scale

Skin: deep crimson to purple, with prominent white dots; thick

Flesh: deep red, coarse

Crispness: 4

Juiciness: 4


Fresh eating, culinary, cider

T1, upright

Fireblight: 3
Scab: 2
PM: 2

Merits: Tree: very hardy (to z3). Fruit: One of the darkest and most solid red of the red-fleshed apples, inside and out.

Faults: Tree: slow to start bearing, poor keeper.

Merit or fault?: Fruit ripens before most other apples we use in cider, making cider blending a challenge.

Ratings: Bunker: "If you like really tart apples, you'll be a fan of this medium-sized, red-fleshed apple".

Special: Even the leaves and bark are tinged with red. The Winekist Dakotas was developed by Carl Hansen of Brookings, South Dakota. Morris Towle of Winthrop, ME, was credited until 2020 by John Bunker of Fedco as introducing the apple. I didn't think so, since Towle was a collector of rare apples, not an apple developer. It is nice to be proven correct.

(Kidd's Orange Red x Golden Delicious)
1934. named in 1965


classic apple shape

mild, sweet

Ours was the Brookfield strain which had red stripes over dominent red and some yellow; moderately thin skinned


h-white; texture is moderately crisp, very fine-grained, & juicy


Fresh eating,  cider


Merits: Tree: resistant to mildew; crops heavily regularly; widely recommended for both home and coommercial orchards. Fruit: has become a new standard for sweet fresh eating apples; holds its shape when cooked.

Faults: Tree: susceptible to scab; requires much thinning for good sized fruit; brittle wood breaks under heavy loads. Fruit: turns mealy when over ripe; too bland when cooked; too bland for good cider.

Merit or fault?: Fruit: too sweet for some.

Ratings: A21: vg/b; BBG; Y

(Hudson's Pride of Michigan
(Twenty Ounce open pollinated)
Xenia, Ohio
introduced 1899

very large

roundish, but asymmetric

mild, 4 on the sweet-tart scale

Skin: greenish yellow, splashed and striped with some red; thick, tough



Crispness: 3

Juiciness: 3



Culinary, especially baking

T2, drooping, spreading

Fireblight: ??
PM: 5
CAR: 5

Merits: : Tree: very hardy (to z3); precocious bearer; heavy cropper, thinning required for good sized fruit and to prevent biennial bearing; fruits hold well to tree. Fruit: excellent keeper for ripening so early; does not bruise easily.

Faults: Tree:
susceptible to winter injury.
Merit or fault?: Fruit: wide disagreement concerning quality of taste for fresh eating.

Beach: g-vg; Hedrick: g-vg, worthy of trial; Hedrick1914: g/**; NY1916: 8; Hedrick13: good-vg, worth planting commercially; AA: **; AFC: 14/2 NY (second quality); APS1911: **KM; BC: good; B-H: good; Bull91: 6-7**; Bull09: gvg*; Bunker: "a high quality dessert apple"; Can; dessert poor, cooking good, commercial value - first to seond class; FB208: HR(KM); FB1001: D2; F&T: $ (1 region [WNY]); Hayes; Hooper: 2; Lowther:vg,11(22); ME94: vg/*; Michigan1879: good, 5.7.9; Ont1892: 2/8/7/8; PA1910: (N) Meets a good market demand on account of large size and good cooking qualities; Prince [under Cayuga Redstreak]; Ragan: g-vg; Scott: 2; Waugh: fair; Wilkinson: g to vg/*

Special: Oddly it is better rated by modern sources than older ones.

Rhode Island Greening
(parentage unknown)
before 1650


wider than classic apple shape

tart, sprightly

grass green with late developing yellow tinge & occasional bright cheek, dotted, slight bloom; moderately thick skinned

greenish-yellow; texture is crisp, tender, & juicy


Fresh eating, culinary, cider


Merits: Tree: reliably heavy cropper; bears fruits uniform in shape and large size; long lived; once second leading apple variety grown in New York State. Fruit: very juicy; aromatic; keeps well even in less than ideal conditions (except for some scalding).

Faults: Tree: triploid (does not pollinate), slow to mature; biennial; may drop fruit prematurely; susceptible to scab, mildew, cankers. Fruit: bruises easily; can be astringent.

Merit or fault?: Tree: naturally spreading and droopy, but crooked growth. Fruit: waxy skin.

Ratings: AoNY: vg; NY1907: **; NY1914: vg/**; NY1916: 2; A21: vg; Baker: NY (6), ME (8), MA (12), RI (12), CT (6), NJ (6), PA (12), No. OH, MI; B-H: vg; BBG; Bull91: 7/** [97: no change; 99: 7-8/**]; Can: dessert fair, cooking best, commercial value - best; Hooper: 1 (but variable with location); Lowther: vg; ME94: vg/**; MICH: f/m; NE1; Ont: 8/10/8/8; Waugh: good; Wilkinson: vg; Unimpeachable; Y.

Roxbury Russet
(parentage unknown)
before 1650


irregular, slightly ribbed

sub-acid to tart

green brown russet; rough, thick skinned

quickly browning cream; texture is moderately coarse & juicy

first fruit: 2007

Fresh eating, culinary, cider


Merits: Tree: keeps well even in less than ideal storage; resistant to scab & cedar apple rust; once fifth leading apple variety grown in New York State. Fruit: prized for rich flavoring & high sugar content for cider.

Faults: Tree: biennial; often a shy bearer; quality variable due to soil and climate; fruit subject to cracking; may drop fruit prematurely. Fruit: quickly browning flesh; rough skin is not attractive.

Merit or fault?: Fruit: russet quality; coarse flesh; does not bruise easily, but tough skin.

Ratings: AoNY: g/vg; NY1907: **; NY1914: g-vg/**; NY1916: 4; Baker: NY (6), MA (12), RI (6), RI (6), NJ (6), MI; BC: nr; A21: g/vg; B-H: g-vg; BBG; Bull91: 7-8/** [97: no change; 99: 6-7/**]; Browning; Can: dessert only fair, cooking good, commercial value - first class; Grootendors: "shows an austere perfection and refinement of flavor"; Lowther: vg; Hooper: 3 for table, 1 to 2 for cooking; ME94: vg/*; NE11; Ont: 6/8/8/9; Waugh: good; Wilkinson: g to vg; Y

Special: discovered in the town of Roxbury in mid-17th century, it may be the oldest named American variety. It has better documentation to the claim than does the Rambo.

Black Oxford
(parentage unknown)
before 1790

small to medium

classic apple shape

mild, sub-acid to tart

deep purple, blue bloom, dotted; tough skinned

greenish white; texture is crisp, very firm, and moderately dry

first fruit: 2010

Fresh eating, culinary, cider


Merits: Tree: annual; disease resistant; late blooming protects it from frost damage; fruits tolerate fall frosts and mild freezes. Fruit: handsome dark color.

Faults: its hard flesh earned it the nickname “the rock.”

Merit or fault?: moderately dry flesh

Ratings: Baker: ME; BC: nr; B-H: good; ME94: .../_; ME08: good; Ragan: g

Yellow Bellflower
(Yellow Belle Fleur

(parentage unknown)
before 1800

Yellow Bellflower


medium to v. large

distinctively elongated,

rich, 3 on the sweet-tart scale

pale yellow
with brownish red blush;
thin, tender skinned

yellowish white

firm, moderately fine-grained

Juiciness: 2


Fresh eating, culinary, cider

T2; somewhat spreading and drooping

Fireblight: 2
Scab 2
PM: 3
CAR: 3


Merits: Tree: late blooming protects it from frost damage; Fruit: valued for multiple purposes.

Faults: Tree: slow grower; bears fruits variable in size; may drop fruit prematurely; susceptible to scab;. Fruit: bruises easily; quickly browning flesh.

Merit or fault?: Tree: described as both a heavy and shy cropper. Fruit: ideal flavor comes after it mellows in storage.

Ratings: Downing: vg; Bull97: 7-8**; Bull99: 8-9*; Bull09: vg*; Beach: vg/b; NY1907: *kLM (valuable in some districts); NY1914: g/*; Allen; BC: good; Baker: **, CT (Top12), IL (Top12), KY (top12), NJ (Top12), RI (Top20), MI, OH; CG: 40/18/18/78; Barron: first quality; Barry: (W), "rich"/"breaking, spritely, sharp" W; Bridgeman: alike excellent for dessert or cooking, Unimpeachable; Burford*; Dickerman: NY*; FB113: &; FB208: R(DKM); FB1001; Folger: (0 regions); Hansen: vg or best; Hayes; Heavy: "Tart and bright...ton of juice...straightforward"; Hedrick: good, *, valuable in some districts; Hooper: 1; HSL: 1; Kenrick: *(excellent); KOB: satisfactory, dselicately spiced; Lear: 10; Lowther: vg,12(41); Lewelling; Manning: a fine apple; ME94: vg/**; Michigan1879: vg, 8.10.7; Michigan1890: vg, 8.10.7; Milam: pie:vg/sauce:vg; Ont1892:8/7/5/5; Pomologie: *****; Powell: "every way an excellent fruit where it is at its best," " in Michaigan no apple outclasses [it]"; Prince; Ragan: vg; S-L: de premiere qualitie; Scott: 1, deserving of extensive cultivation; Smith: right flavor for classic baked apple...perfectly OK fresh eating but not great; Thomas: *(excellent); Warder: best; Waugh: vg; Woolverton: dessert good, cooking good, commercial value - home market first class; Yepsen: "blossoms are large and especially attractive".

Special: thought to be one of the parents of the Red Delicious.

These trees all once grew well but died of injury, girdling, crown rot, other disease, or of unknown cause. It is not a complete list. For a variety of reasons we have not replaced them.

NOTE: Some details came from earlier versions of the chart and do not precisely match the main apple page.

See main page for the KEY to the sources used for apple ratings.

This page written and maintained by John R. Henderson (jhenderson@ithaca.edu).
Last modified: May 14, 2023
URL: http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/formerapples.html