The comprehensive resource for apples and orchards

Discovery apple

Discovery is one of the most popular English early apples. It is grown commercially on a small scale in the UK, because unlike almost all other early apple varieties it has a reasonable shelf-life - perhaps a week or so. It is quite widely available in the UK in late August and early September.

Discovery is a bit like Beaujolais Noveau - its appeal is entirely down to being fresh and new. Neither does the flavour stand much comparison with later season varieties. However, it is a change from imported apples when it comes into season, and nice when served slightly chilled from the fridge. As you might expect, the flavour is acidic rather than sweet and has little depth to it. Interestingly, just like Beaujolais, Discovery can have a hint of strawberry flavour, although this is very variable. The colours are a fresh yellow-green, usually with dark red patches where the sun has caught it.

Discovery is a very important apple for commercial growers and supermarkets in the UK because it allows them to start marketing the new English apple season, and get consumers primed to buy English apples again.  However there has been increasing debate within the industry about what many insiders see as a poor-quality apple, and concern that consumers may be turned-off English apples at the start of the season if the flavour does not match expectations.  The problem is that the shelf-life is very short, so if the crop is not picked at exactly the right time it will be either under-ripe or past its best - in this respect it is more like a soft fruit than an apple.  As it stands the UK industry has to rely on Discovery at this time of the year but if an alternative early-season variety could be found it is likely that Discovery would rapidly fall out of favour as a commercial apple variety.

Discovery is often thought of as an old variety, but was found in the late 1940s by a fruit farm worker in Langham, Essex, who planted some pips of Worcester Pearmain in his garden.   Discovery is therefore a seedling of Worcester Pearmain, a 19th century early-season apple variety which lends its attractive red finish. Worcester Pearmain is probably the source of the strawberry flavour, which is also found in some of its other offspring including Katy, which is similar in appearance to Discovery but has a bit more depth of flavour and arrives slightly later in the season.  Scrumptious, a modern early variety, is also closely related.

An interesting characteristic of Discovery is that the red skin colour can occasionally bleed slightly into the flesh.  There are some sports where this red-fleshed characteristic is more pronounced.

Discovery is a good apple tree for the garden, being fairly easy to grow. Having your own tree also means that you can enjoy the apples at their best, which is often not the case with shop-bought examples.

Last updated 03 Jun 2013.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 4.7 out of 5. Total votes cast: 16

Visitor comments

(Use the form at the bottom to add your own comments about this variety)

02 Apr 2014 
I purchased one , it was half price from a garden centre, had a desent crop, everyone who tasted the apples remarked how beautiful tasting and aroma they where, so I went back and paid full price and bought another

31 Jan 2014 
My favourite apple ever. I cry when they first appear in the supermarkets around August/September then cry again when they are gone about a month later.

19 Feb 2012 
When these hit the shelves pick up a bag of imported apples and give them a good sniff. Dont smell of much do they? Now pick up a bag of discos and fill your face with the heady aroma of a real English apple! Theres simply no comparison. I would buy these on their smell alone. I disagree that the flavour is poor and would rate these as an order of magnitude better than Worcester, Fiesta/Red Pippin, any imported or vinous apple and beaten only by Cox and Egremont Russet. A fine apple by commercial standards.

20 Jan 2012 
I married one of the grandaughters of the late George Dummer the founder of the discovery apple and has far as I am aware the very first tree is still alive and bearing fruits in the garden in Langham.

09 Nov 2011 
We have this apple tree, it's still relatively young, but bears hundreds of fruits, and is absolutely delicious! Our tree gets a lot of sun, which must be why it's skin is always almost completely red and flesh pink at least half-way through the apple - something this articles says is supposedly not the norm..? By far and away my favourite apple, although I have to say I've never seen it in my supermarket, but there's nothing getter than eating an apple just picked from the tree anyway, in my opinion. :)

14 Sep 2010 
I found this apple during a recent break in a community garden in Lingfield, Surrey. There were lots of apples underneath the tree (end August). They taste very well. I also have this variety up North in Aberdeen, but here they are not yet ripe. The tree in the North is still young and only this year started cropping. I am hoping they will taste just as good as the ones from the South of England.

01 Sep 2010 
Discovery Apples do make an interesting Cider, its rather light and airy, and very clear, serve it ice cold, its gorgeous. I used a Champagne yeast and its still, not carbonated. I manage to fill 5 demi jars. It does have a kick!!

30 Aug 2010 
Our Discovery tree is so prolific it's now threatening to become a horizontal tree. For an early apple I think it's delicious, and it does indeed taste much better from the tree than from the supermarket (not always the case). Getting apples to bear prolific, ripe fruit up here isn't easy, so I love it. We eat it raw, cook it, peel and slice and put in the freezer and use as cooking apple all winter. It works very well that way as it's so juicy, just use less sugar when cooking.

26 Aug 2010 
Discovery 'an apple with poor flavour' - nonsense. It is one of the best flavoured of all apples and I eagerly await them each year. Crisp, juicy, tangy and a nice acid finish.

14 Jul 2010 
Contrary to some comments, I consider discovery to be my favourite apple., and would be most disappointed if it disappeared from the shelves of supermarkets. The taste is tangy, the flesh crisp and white, flushed with reddy orange. I even wrote a poem to the discovery! How mad is that lol. I do agree it is not nice when over ripe. but I am look forward to a few weeks time, when hopefully I can pick up a bag or two of discovery. Maybe I need to enioy a bigger range of British apples? I should add I normally only buy British apples when available. Only buying overseas when no British eaters are in the store. I also have three apples trees (one Discovery) in my garden, brought from Morrisons supermarkets.

10 Apr 2010 
Don't worry too much about Discovery's part-tip-bearing habit. Many apple varieties are part-tip bearing. Spurs on apple trees take a few years to develop; they only usually develop from former leaf buds that went dormant and are located on 2-3 year old wood. Tip-buds are at the end of a young shoot from the previous season and don't usually form on older wood. Therefore, young trees will not have many spurs, since they won't have much 2-3 year old wood. In time, a part-tip-bearer should still produce adequate numbers of spurs on which to carry fruit.

15 Mar 2010 
I hadn't realised it was a tip bearer when I planted it next a fence and started to train it as an espalier. Why don't they say whether apple trees are tip r spur bearers on the labels? It is good as an early eater fresh off the tree but I find the wasps love it too.

19 Feb 2010 
Discovery is often red-fleshed, especially in dull years. It is the parent of Hugh Ermen's famous red-fleshed apple 'Red Devil'.

04 Jan 2010 
Do you know that the discovery apple makes fantastic pie's and crumbles. Peel, core and chop into 4-8 pieces, place in a plastic bowl, microwave until just soft, do not add sugar they don't need any at all. They also don't need water, as they cook in their own juice. Save any juice you have, this is so nice to drink once it has been chilled.You can also use it to make apple jelly, that is just yummy.My grandchildren like it when i put it in lolly moulds and make them iced lollies.If you freeze your cooked apple be sure to strain off the liquid before using them.Do not try to cook them in a pan on the stove it just turns to mush, and remember NO SUGAR OR WATER. I have just last year managed to get my second discovery tree, it took ages to find.I only hope it grows as well as the other, i would'nt go back to any other apple because for me the discovery has it all. All i need now is to get me a press so i can try my hand at cider.Happy cooking x

10 Oct 2009 
I have just been told that the wonderful pink juice that I have pressed from some donated apples comes from the Discovery variety. We think that the juice tastes better than the apples; the apples themselves don't seem to have a great deal of flavour and develop a "woolly" texture very quickly after picking. We have also made some of the juice into cider, which is fermenting as I write this. It will be interesting to see whether it too is pink! (It's in the dark to stop light bleaching the colour.)

02 Sep 2009 
As with all fruits this year the two trees in my garden were laden with apples, and many were ready for picking by mid August. I also agree with previous comments about the flavour - they are a sweet and very refreshing apple. Pity they dont keep!

21 Aug 2009 
Definately best eaten very soon after being picked. Crops well on my cordon bush(M 26}. As to flavour not, in my opinion, to be ranked with Ashmeads Kernel, Cox, Ribston Pippin etc. but crisp and refreshing and, with Laxton' Epicure, on of the better early apples.

17 Aug 2009 
Ours are just starting, very heavily laden this year - the geese adore the little ones and misshapes. We can keep them a few weeks in a cool barn, but definitely best sun warmed from the tree. The best apple we grow.

16 Aug 2009 
Yesterday (15th August) was spent picking bucket-loads of these apples from our tree in the garden. They are SO tasty and moreish and I love the way the red skin bleeds all the way into the apple - so different to anything in the shops!

07 Aug 2009 
I also disagree with the comment on flavour. Discovery is my favourite apple and I chomp down so many in August and September. It's a lovely fresh, crisp taste with the sweetness running through the pink flesh. Absolutely delicious and we found Discoveries on Wednesday (August 5th) in Sainsbury's so I shall be getting my five-a-day (5 discoveries) from now until the end of their little season.

07 Aug 2009 
First sighting of the new season's 'Discovery' apples in Cambridge market this morning. My fave variety!

08 Feb 2009 
I have grown this apple on a light soil for twenty years. Reliable cropper, varies with different summers. When it is good it is great but short season, short keeping. Best off the tree on a hot summers day!

04 Oct 2008 
Ive had Discovery apples for many years now and i think they are the juiciest and best tasting apples that I have tasted. I have had the tree for at least 25 years,is this to long ar has it life yet?

24 Sep 2008 
I disagree with the comments regarding lack of flavour. We grow a variety of dessert apples and in our opinion, our Discovery produces apples of excellent, complex flavour when eaten straight form the tree. We consider that the flavour is superior to almost any apple that we have tasted. We have been so impressed, that our Discovery bush has been joined by a young half-standard Discovery tree, for even heavier crops. We live in a warm, low-rainfall area (not far from where Discovery originated), and we suspect that the warm temperatures and lower water content of the Discovery apples we grow here somehow enhances the flavour enormously - a bit like D'Arcy Spice (another local apple variety) which requires a warm and dry summer for it's finest flavour. Shop-bought Discovery apples are completely different to our home-grown one's - the shop one's being larger, juicier, sharper, lacking the red juice and rather flavourless. Discovery's good disease resistance (mildew and scab) also makes it suitable for avoiding the use of many sprays.

08 Sep 2008 
We inherited two of these trees when we bought our present house three years agom they are gorgeous apples and very versatile.

08 Sep 2008 
I must disagree with your tasting notes. It's a perfect little apple with just the right degree of tartness, wonderful aroma, skin which isn't too tough and a nice size. Having access to supermarket apples only, I hunt for it in preference to other available varieties. And another point: not all consumers want large apples and sweet apples - commercial growers take note!

07 Sep 2008 
We have an amazingly prolific Discovery tree. The short life of the fruit once picked means that we always have a problem with what to do with so much fruit. This season we have found the answer - it makes the most wondeful PINK apple juice! If you have one of these trees then get hold of a cider press and try it! You will be so delighted with the result - and it is so healthy!!

02 Sep 2008 
Bought packets from Asda and Morrisons in the last week and the Morrisons ones were a bit stunted, but still good when very fresh. The ones in Asda were far bigger and juicier. I need a sweet, crunchy, slighty acidic apple or I can't eat them at all and this one is great if eaten very quickly. I would disgree that it doesn't have depth - the very fresh ones have all sorts of things going on. They do go past their best very quickly though (still, most supermarket apples these days are terrible from the start).

20 Jul 2008 
Hi....yes I like apple juice..good for us....... Best Regards

20 Jul 2008 
Some years back a man called stan jarvis (local historian) used to present history tales on essex radio,and ime sure he said the farmer discovered this thought to be extinct apple plant in rochford essex .I only picked up on it because i used to live there .Can anyone varify this .

03 Aug 2007 
I would agree with your tasting notes, but would just like to add that if eaten fresh off the tree the Discovery will be tasted at its best. I used to work on an apple farm in Essex in the 70's,and had my fill of 'fresh' discovery's. The apple farm was in the village of Langham which I think was the place where the apple was Discovered,in a lady's front garden.

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A popular English early apple variety, and a good choice for the garden.

Discovery phototape


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Seedling of Worcester Pearmain
  • Originates from: United Kingdom
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1102
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession number: 1973-189
  • Some historical details taken with kind permission from 'The New Book of Apples' by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards , illustrated by Elisabeth Dowle, published by Ebury Press, 2002.


  • Flesh colour: White
  • Flesh colour: White to Cream, pale yellow
  • Flesh colour: Pale Pink or Red
  • Fruit size: Small
  • Fruit size: Variable
  • Fruit size: Medium
  • Bultitude apple group: 6. Red flushed, smooth, sweet


  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Uses: Juice
  • Flavour quality: Average
  • Flavour style: Sweet/Sharp
  • Harvest period: Early season
  • Use / keeping: 1 week


  • Cropping: Good
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Slightly small
  • Gardening skill: Very easy
  • General disease resistance: Good
  • Period of origin: 1900 - 1949


  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Blossom frost-resistance: Good resistance

Other qualities

  • Awards: RHS AGM 1993

Disease resistance

  • Scab  - Very resistant
  • Canker  - Some resistance

Relationships to other varieties

Parents and other ancestors of this variety:

Offspring of this variety:

Discovery identification photos from official fruit collections

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Discovery identification photos from website visitors

Discovery apple August 8th 2010
Discovery apple August 8th 2010

Discovery apple August 8th 2010
Discovery apple August 8th 2010

Cross-section of Discovery showing typical red staining
Cross-section of Discovery showing typical red staining

Copyright: Z. Dalby

Discovery apples (probable identification)
Discovery apples (probable identification)

Copyright: Z. Dalby

Fruit tree register

Do you have a tree of this variety in your garden or orchard? If so please register the details here and contribute to our international register of fruit trees.

The following Discovery trees have been registered - click the name to view more details of each tree.

You can also view these trees on a map.

United States

United Kingdom




New Zealand

Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2013 season

  • 19th May  2013  - tree owned by Bill in , United Kingdom
  • 15th May  2013  - tree owned by Mark in Chippenham, United Kingdom
  • May  2013  - tree owned by George in MALMESBURY, United Kingdom
  • 22nd April  2013  - tree owned by Andrew in St Saviour, United Kingdom
  • April  2013  - tree owned by Tony in STREATLEY, United Kingdom

2012 season

  • 20th May  2012  - tree owned by Andrew in St Saviour, United Kingdom
  • 4th May  2012  - tree owned by Robert in SOUTH SHIELDS, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2012  - tree owned by Simon in DULEEK, Ireland

2011 season

  • 21st April  2011  - tree owned by Malcolm in loughborough, United Kingdom
  • 18th April  2011  - tree owned by Robert in SOUTH SHIELDS, United Kingdom
  • 15th April  2011  - tree owned by Andrew in St Saviour, United Kingdom
  • 8th April  2011  - tree owned by Alan in CHIPPENHAM, United Kingdom
  • April  2011  - tree owned by Roy in NORTH SHIELDS, United Kingdom
  • April  2011  - tree owned by Gill in Chalfont St Giles, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • May  2010  - tree owned by Pip in RYE, United Kingdom
  • 30th April  2010  - tree owned by Robert in SOUTH SHIELDS, United Kingdom
  • 28th April  2010  - tree owned by Marian in STREET, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2010  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
  • 24th April  2010  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom

2009 season

  • May  2009  - tree owned by Pip in RYE, United Kingdom
  • 18th April  2009  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
  • 18th April  2009  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
  • March  2009  - tree owned by Malcolm in loughborough, United Kingdom
  • March  2009  - tree owned by Gill in Chalfont St Giles, United Kingdom

Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.

Latest harvest records for this variety

2013 season

  • 2nd week September  2013  - tree owned by Bill in , United Kingdom
  • September  2013  - tree owned by Tony in STREATLEY, United Kingdom
  • August  2013  - tree owned by Mark in Chippenham, United Kingdom

2012 season

  • 3rd week August  2012  - tree owned by Andrew in St Saviour, United Kingdom
  • August  2012  - tree owned by Mark in Chippenham, United Kingdom

2011 season

  • 2nd week September  2011  - tree owned by Robert in SOUTH SHIELDS, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2011  - tree owned by Bumblebee in COMRIE, United States
  • 2nd week August  2011  - tree owned by Colin in , United Kingdom
  • August  2011  - tree owned by Roy in NORTH SHIELDS, United Kingdom
  • August  2011  - tree owned by Mark in Chippenham, United Kingdom
  • August  2011  - tree owned by Gill in Chalfont St Giles, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • 1st week September  2010  - tree owned by Robert in SOUTH SHIELDS, United Kingdom
  • 1st week September  2010  - tree owned by Michael in YORK, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week August  2010  - tree owned by Steve in TRURO, United Kingdom
  • 1st week August  2010  - tree owned by Tony in ST AMAND DE COLY, France
  • August  2010  - tree owned by Mark in Chippenham, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week July  2010  - tree owned by Pip in RYE, United Kingdom

2009 season

  • 1st week September  2009  - tree owned by Jane in EDINBURGH, United Kingdom
  • August  2009  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
  • August  2009  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
  • August  2009  - tree owned by Malcolm in loughborough, United Kingdom
  • August  2009  - tree owned by Mark in Chippenham, United Kingdom
  • August  2009  - tree owned by Gill in Chalfont St Giles, United Kingdom

Where to buy apple trees

The following fruit tree nurseries offer Discovery apple trees for sale:

Where to buy apples

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