The comprehensive resource for apples and orchards

Ellison's Orange apple

Ellisons Orange is an early (c1905) cross of Cox's Orange Pippin, and without doubt one of the most significant Cox-style apples.  Its depth and range of flavour are in the same league as its parent.

Its uniqueness comes from the strange aniseed flavour which can arise after picking - a facet of the Cox-family aromatic complexity which is not apparent in its parent. In a good year, and soon after picking, the aniseed is subdued or absent and some authorities claim Ellisons Orange can be as intense as Cox. In a bad year though, or grown in the wrong conditions, it can be quite unpleasant. The trick is to remember that Ellisons Orange, unlike most of the more complex apple varieties, is actually a mid-season apple, ripening in the UK in September. Also, like other mid-season varieties, it does not keep especially well.

If you don't like aniseed do not let this put you off because you would be missing a unique taste experience.  Straight from the tree the aniseed flavour is barely detectable, and Ellison's Orange has such a glorious richness of flavour that it is "essential reading" for anyone with an interest in apples.  After a few days the aniseed is slightly more apparent - but merely as a liquorice undertone to a whole array of different fruit flavours.

Visually Ellisons Orange fits the bill as a classic English variety. The flesh is quite soft, somewhat pear-like in texture, and juicier than Cox. Ellisons Orange is certainly a good way in to the Cox-style flavour. Although Cox is readily available in supermarkets from both UK and New Zealand suppliers, it is difficult to get examples which truly reflect its flavour potential - supermarket Cox apples are usually pleasant but do not really live up to the reputation. Ellisons Orange on the other hand - if you can find it - is a more reliable variety.

Ellisons Orange was developed from Cox's Orange Pippin by Rev. Ellison in Lincolnshire, England, at the start of the 20th century. Its other parent is believed to be one of the Calville varieties, originating in France and thought to be very old.

Ellisons Orange has always been moderately popular as a Cox-style apple which is easier to grow than its disease-prone parent. As a result it can sometimes be found at farmers markets or in old traditional orchards. It is also much easier to grow in the garden than Cox - and picked straight from the tree is the best way to enjoy the incredible intense flavours without over-dosing on the aniseed.

Ellisons Orange is an English classic that can undoubtedly claim a place in the first rank of apple varieties.
Last updated 02 Jan 2011.

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Current rating: 5.0 out of 5. Total votes cast: 1

Visitor comments

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21 Sep 2013 
There is a very old and large Ellisons Orange tree in a back garden at Usher Avenue together with an equally old Blenheim Orange. If anyone from the Boultham Park renovation team is interested then they should be able to find them and they are very welcome to contact me.

07 Nov 2012 
We have an Ellison's orange tree, which fruits well every year and has delicious apples. I personally like the slight anise flavour. It's a battle to keep the Coddling moth off though and i don't prune everu year.

12 Jan 2012 
Hi, we are working on a 3 million pound project to restore the park at Boultham which was the site of Boultham Hall -home of the Ellison's. One of the things we are looking to do is heritage planting and so I have been really interested to read this stream of information.

22 Aug 2011 
We planted an Ellison's Orange in memory of my brother in 2003 - this year has been prolific after pruning. Best eaten off the tree as the windfalls tend to be diseased. Not really tasted the Aniseed!

10 Apr 2010 
A very nice tasting apple. But very prone to codling moth (maggots). Also quite prone to canker. Not recommended unless you plan to treat against codling and canker. Mildew and scab resistance is quite good and treatment shouldn't be required against those diseases.

19 Feb 2010 
taste / texture of this apple is identical to laxton's fortune - both have a hint of anise (aniseed). can be difficult to tell them apart, but the shape is different. laxton's fortune is more curvy. the depth of the eye is different too.

15 Sep 2009 
If you can be brave- thin the branches and get beautiful large, red apples. Large ones store well- wrapped and boxed and you can enjoy until December. The flavour is complex and slightly aniseed, but delicious. A great variety.

09 Sep 2009 
we had an ellison's orange in the garden as kids, we always wrapped them in newspaper and stored them in the dark...that way they seemed to last quite a while. Now i've just purchased one of my own, hope it's as good as i remember!

12 Nov 2008 
As a child, we had a large Ellison's Orange tree in the orchard. It usually had a good crop of juicy, full flavored fruit with a distinctive orange tang. Aniseed is not a flavor I can recall at any time.

03 Nov 2008 
I was born in Rookery Lane Lincoln, beside Boultham Park wich was the Ellison family home (Boultham Hall). We had a tree in the garden & the apples were beautiful. Just been to check & sadly the tree is no longer there.

22 Oct 2008 
We have a tree in our garden (only owned the house 3 years) which is an Ellisons Orange - we have had bumper crops in the last 2 very wet years and after pruning the tree back quite hard.. I had more than I knew what to do with this year but they went down well at work and with the neighbours. They don't keep for all that long though - even in a cold dark place, they seem to go a bit soft but you can see where the orange name comes from as they go from bright green with a wonderful red blush to a yellowy-orange colour at the end of the season.. I have never noticed aniseed...

30 Sep 2008 
These apples are mad hot. Can't get enough.

08 Oct 2007 
We have a tree identified recently at an apple day fair as Ellison's Orange. We have only lived at this address for 18 months, but we believe the tree was planted soon after the house was built in 1965. For both our summers here it has cropped very prolifically. Picked fresh off the tree, the fruit is absolutely delicious. However it seems to lose its crispness, juiciness and delicious flavour if not eaten fairly soon after picking. But I can't say I've noticed anything like aniseed in its taste.

06 Oct 2007 
One of the apple trees in my garden has been identified as an Ellison's Orange. We know that it has been growing there since at least 1956, when my husband's parents moved in to this property. My husband thinks the tree was already planted, either by an earlier owner or perhaps when the house was originally built in the early 1930s. It was originally an espalier, which would have needed a lot of pruning, but that got neglected so it has grown into a bush tree. We have had it pruned in recent years but have been advised to leave it be from now on. It bears apples this year and they are larger than usual, very juicy and I like them. I shall be choosing one to take tomorrow to church to help decorate the base of the font for harvest festival. I shall be taking some Laxton's Superb apples with the same history which are more prolific at this time of year. The birds like to peck at both varieties. Normally there are insects inside the apples, but this does not seem to have happened in 2007. I have not been asked before to take anything to decorate the church.

22 Sep 2007 
i grow this apple and have done for 15 years . i find this apple very sweet and juicy and tender fruits. as for tasteing of aniseed imust say i have never tasted is a very good doer and i get plenty of apples every year

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One of the best offspring of Cox's Orange Pippin, with a distinct aniseed flavor.

Ellison's Orange phototape


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Cox's Orange Pippin
  • Originates from: Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Introduced: 1890
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1019
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession number: 1982-046


  • Bultitude apple group: 7. Flushed / striped, some russeting, sweet


  • Flowering period: Mid-Late season
  • Flowering group: 4
  • Fertility: Partially self-fertile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average growth


  • Blossom frost-resistance: Good resistance

Other qualities

  • Awards: RHS AGM 1993

Relationships to other varieties

Parents and other ancestors of this variety:

Ellison's Orange identification photos from official fruit collections



UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Ellison's Orange identification photos from website visitors

Ellisons Orange
Ellisons Orange

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 Ellison's Orange 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


Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2014 season

  • 26th May  2014  - tree owned by Tim in , United Kingdom
  • 1st May  2014  - tree owned by Tim in LINCOLN, United Kingdom
  • April  2014  - tree owned by Gwyn in GRAYSWOOD, United Kingdom
  • April  2014  - tree owned by deadbird in epsom, United Kingdom

2013 season

  • 15th May  2013  - tree owned by Jean in Martock, United Kingdom
  • May  2013  - tree owned by Michelle in BOURNEMOUTH, United Kingdom
  • April  2013  - tree owned by Gwyn in GRAYSWOOD, United Kingdom

2012 season

  • 19th May  2012  - tree owned by Andrew in St Saviour, United Kingdom
  • 7th May  2012  - tree owned by Tim in , United Kingdom
  • 5th May  2012  - tree owned by Tim in LINCOLN, United Kingdom
  • 5th May  2012  - tree owned by Tim in LINCOLN, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • 16th May  2010  - tree owned by Jon in Keelby, United Kingdom
  • 16th May  2010  - tree owned by Jon in Keelby, United Kingdom
  • 10th May  2010  - tree owned by Tim in , United Kingdom
  • 3rd May  2010  - tree owned by Stuart in Newbury, United Kingdom
  • 29th April  2010  - tree owned by Elizabeth in EVESHAM, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2010  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom

2009 season

  • 18th April  2009  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom

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

Latest harvest records for this variety

2014 season

    2013 season

    • September  2013  - tree owned by Gwyn in GRAYSWOOD, United Kingdom

    2012 season

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

    2010 season

    • 1st week October  2010  - tree owned by Steve in POOLE, United Kingdom

    2009 season

    • 2nd week September  2009  - tree owned by Pat in friockheim, United Kingdom
    • September  2009  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom

    Where to buy apple trees

    The following fruit tree nurseries offer Ellison's Orange apple trees for sale:

    • Cummins Nursery
      United States  More >>

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