All about apples, pears, plums, and cherries - and orchards where they are grown

Grimes Golden apple

Grimes Golden is a 19th century apple from the USA.  You may not have heard of it, but if it looks familiar it is not surprising - this is almost certainly the parent of Golden Delicious, and therefore a distant ancestor of a great number of the apple varieties on this website.

One of our listed suppliers, Stephen Cummins of Cummins Nursery recalls his Great Grandfather planted 20 acres of this variety at the start of the 20th century - a good illustration of how important this variety was commercially at that time.  However, by the 1930s its success had waned, as growers turned to its offspring Golden Delicious instead, which offered more consistent production and higher yields.  If Grimes Golden has a weakness it is its irregular production.

The main characteristics of Grimes Golden, which are also found in Golden Delicious are the clean dry finish, very slight russeting tendency, somewhat prominent lenticels (the attractive speckles on the skin) and the slightly tall shape with a hint of ribs.  The long stalk, which often remains attached to the fruit after picking, is generally a reliable indicator of Golden Delicious / Grimes Golden heritage in all its offspring.  Even Rubinette, that most Cox-like of Golden Delicious crosses, has the familiar long stalk.

Grimes Golden is one of a relatively select group of apple varieties that are self-fertile.  Golden Delicious is not self-fertile, but is usually considered partially self-fertile.

All in all it is quite difficult to tell Grimes Golden and Golden Delicious apart from a simple visual inspection.  However, when it comes to flavour, there is a noticeable difference.  As might be expected Grimes Golden is crisp and sweet - however, the sweetness is richer than in Golden Delicious, and most tasters agree that Grimes Golden has the superior flavour.  There's a hint of rich spiciness in Grimes Golden which is completely absent in Golden Delicious and indeed all its descendants ... with the possible exception of Rubinette.

Last updated 25 Aug 2012.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 4.8 out of 5. Total votes cast: 6

Visitor comments

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

23 Aug 2014 
I grew up on a small orchard, and started one of my own about 15 years ago. Grimes Golden was my mother's favorite, so I planted her a tree. When I got my first taste, 11 years later, it was the best Apple I had ever eaten. I now use them to make the best apple butter I've ever tasted. If I can find another tree or two, I'll be planting more.

23 Feb 2014 
I just found out my tree is not a Golden Delicious but a Grimes Golden. It has an absolutely wonderful taste and a juicy crunch. It ripens later than Golden D and so seems to keep better lasts longer in n my limited experience Lynnie B Corvallis Oregon

21 Oct 2013 
Among this year's new taste treats, I was introduced to Grimes Golden, offered at Feil Pioneer Fruit, E. Wenatchee, Washington. A more interesting apple in flavor than Golden Delicious, its probable progeny, with a more barrel shape and no russet among this lot at all. Wonder if I shall ever taste cider made from it?

18 Oct 2011 
This was my mother's favorite apple back in Ohio in the l950's and 60's. It's also my favorite. They are hard to find in Iowa where we now live but Story Book Orchard near Story City Iowa has a dozen trees or so. I just bought a bushel.

12 Feb 2011 
Having been in the produce business for 50 years,I have tried a lot of apples. There is nothing that tastes like a Grimes!

11 Dec 2010 
We had a small orchard of Grimes Golden in Butler County, MO when growing up in the 50 & 60s, they were very old trees, probably planted about 1900. They are simply the best all round apple for eating and cooking, don't get mushy, but cook to a soft stage that is perfect for pies. We dried them by the bushel, since canning took too many jars and lids were expensive. Dried apple pies are the best thing yet! Now that I live in the intermountain west at 5000 ft elevation, on an old apple orchard/farm, I want a tree. Is it possible it would be able to bear fruit here? We are in the southern part of Idaho, often referred to as the banana belt, since our weather is relatively mild for the area.

31 Oct 2009 
These apples make the best fried apples that one could ever imagine. They are also great for pies. My Grandma had several around the farm when I was very young. Fried apples made in a skillet on the old wood cook stove. Simply the best!

20 Oct 2009 
The farm down the road had a Grimes golden tree. I planted two semi dwarf grimes in 1985 and enjoy the apples every year. The flavor can t be beat. A slight pear taste. You can t stop eating them

21 Jan 2009 
I first tasted one on an old farm when I was about ten years old. I have never forgotten the wonderful, spicy sweet flavor and the russet texture and color. It has always been my favorite apple!

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Great historical interest as the probable parent of Golden Delicious, with similar sweet flavour and good keeping qualities, and widely planted during early 20th century.

Grimes Golden phototape


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Unknown
  • Originates from: West Virginia, United States
  • Introduced: 1830s
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1191
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession number: 1921-089
  • We are grateful to Brogdale Farm - home of the UK National Fruit Collection - for providing samples of this variety.


  • Fruit colour: Yellow / Gold
  • Flesh colour: White to Cream, pale yellow
  • Flesh colour: Yellow to Very Yellow
  • Fruit size: Medium
  • Fruit size: Variable
  • Bultitude apple group: 5. Yellow, smooth, sweet or acidic


  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Uses: Cooking
  • Uses: Juice
  • Uses: Hard cider
  • Flavour quality: Very good
  • Flavour style: Sweeter
  • Harvest period: Late season


  • Cropping: Good
  • Flowering period: Mid season
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Self-fertile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Pollinating others: Good
  • Vigour: Average growth
  • Gardening skill: Average
  • Precocity: Precocious
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
  • General disease resistance: Average
  • Period of origin: 1800 - 1849


  • Climate suitability: Warm climates

Disease resistance

  • Mildew  - Some resistance
  • Fireblight  - Some resistance
  • Cedar apple rust  - Some resistance
  • Scab  - Some susceptibility

Relationships to other varieties

Offspring of this variety:

References and further reading about this variety

  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as resistant - control only needed under high disease pressure.

Grimes Golden identification photos from official fruit collections

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Grimes Golden identification photos from website visitors

Grimes Golden in Oregon, early October
Grimes Golden in Oregon, early October

Copyright: Jane Meyer

Grimes Golden in Oregon, early October
Grimes Golden in Oregon, early October

Copyright: Jane Meyer

Grimes Golden at the UK National Fruit Collection
Grimes Golden at the UK National Fruit Collection

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 Grimes Golden 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



Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2014 season

  • 6th May  2014  - tree owned by George in RIVERSIDE, United States

2011 season

  • 20th May  2011  - tree owned by Ron in ORION, United States

2010 season

  • 16th May  2010  - tree owned by Peggy in RANDLEMAN, United States

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

Latest harvest records for this variety

2014 season

  • 4th week September  2014  - tree owned by Lynnie in CORVALLIS, United States

2011 season

    2010 season

    • 1st week September  2010  - tree owned by Peggy in RANDLEMAN, United States

    Where to buy apple trees

    The following fruit tree nurseries offer Grimes Golden apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy apples

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