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James Grieve apple



James Grieve is a justifiably popular dual-purpose apple variety, raised in Scotland at the end of the 19th century, the height of the Victorian period of apple development in the UK.  James Grieve is a mid-season variety that is picked in early-mid September.  At this stage it is pleasantly acidic and refreshing and if it is too sharp for eating it can be used for cooking (cut it into small chunks, it keeps its shape when cooked).  After a few weeks the flavour sweetens and becomes quite mild, and it is then an excellent apple to eat in slices along with a cheese course.  The flesh is soft, somewhat like a firm pear in texture.
 

Our photo shows a 'sport' known as Red James Grieve which was discovered in the 1920s.  This is a natural genetic mutation of James Grieve - the shape and size are identical to the parent James Grieve but the red flush is more solid.  There are a number of sports of James Grieve, a reflection of how widely it has been grown and the commercial interest shown in the variety in the early part of the 20th century.  The photo also makes clear that James Grieve is a very handsome apple, and the skin has a slight satin sheen to it.
 

James Grieve has been used as the basis of a number of newer varieties, some of which have become successful as garden apple trees or in small-scale commercial plantings.  One reason why you might want to use James Grieve in a new variety breeding programme is that it invariably passes on its inherent acidity, which can be an excellent way to stiffen the flavour of a new variety whose other parentage is sweet or bland.  Varieties such as Greensleeves, Lord Lambourne, Elton Beauty, and Katy all inherit the acid kick from James Grieve which helps make them so refreshing.  Lord Lambourne has also in turn proved popular in breeding programmes so James Grieve is one of a relatively small number of varieties which has 'grand-children'  - Topaz is probably the most well-known of these.  Like James Grieve these are all early to mid-season varieties.
 

Another important James Grieve characteristic is its juiciness - bite into one and the flesh glistens with juice.  This makes it a great apple variety if you want to make your own apple juice - a feature also inherited by Katy.

Interestingly the parentage of James Grieve itself has not been fully established.  Cox's Orange Pippin is a possible candidate, as it was a popular apple for amateur breeders at the time (as it still is).  James Grieve has a very similar shape, which is a good indication, but it appears to have none of the aromatic sweetness of Cox.  This is not necessarily a reason to reject Cox as a parent, since we do not know the other parent, and Ribston Pippin (the likely parent of Cox) has a robust flavour which is not dissimilar to James Grieve.  The other possible candidate is Pott's Seedling, a popular commercial cooking apple of the period.
 


 


 

Last updated 03 Jun 2013.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 3.5 out of 5. Total votes cast: 4
 

Visitor comments

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

26 Oct 2013 
We 'rescued' a much maligned specimen from B&Q a few years ago. With a touch of TLC and the pollination by our bees we have had to support the branches such has been the crop each year. This year has been the heaviest crop of all with the average apple being some 11 cm in diameter. Harvesting has been late this year - 20 October - and the apples are sweet and flavoursome.


21 Sep 2013 
I have a James Grieve and an Egremont russet. They are good pollinating partners as they both flower quite early. The russet harvests later too, so avoids too much of a glut. However, what a bumper crop I have had from both this year!


08 Mar 2012 
My second favourite after Fuji. They have a wonderful unique flavour, better than Fuji but I don't like the skins which are a bit waxy and thick. Incredible crisp and crunch, hard even. Its the flavour that draws them apart but they are very expensive - probably the most expensive in the UK.


25 Jul 2011 
I have a James Grieve apple tree in my small back garden.I live in the middle of the city and there are no pollinator trees around at all,but this lovely tree never fails to produce lots of big apples.One year we get a good crop,and every second year we get a bumper crop that I sometimes have to thin,I think it does really well considering there are no other apple trees about.


18 Mar 2011 
I have recently purchased a James Greive and was wondering where to plant it? I have a west-facing sheltered wall. The southern aspect gets slightly more hours of sunlight than the northern aspect. Does the tree need the maximum amount of sun, or will it tolerate a bit of shade to enable me to use the sunnier part of my wall for other plants?


30 Sep 2010 
I grow James Grieve in Pembrokeshire and it often gets some scab - but this year has been disease-free and the fruits have been excellent. It makes excellent tarte tatin and very tasty dried apple rings but does not keep.


26 Jul 2010 
I have a james grieve apple which in its first year of fruiting they looked perfect on the treebut when they where cut open they had gone brown from the core. any comments please.


14 Feb 2010 
I have found a very useful little site on pruning, if anyone's interested - http://www.gardenaction.co.uk/fruit_veg_diary/fruit_veg_mini_project_september_2d_apple.asp


06 Nov 2009 
We had some lovely apples (about 20) from our first year harvest - I harvested throughout September and into the beginning of October - I was a bit worried about the wind blowing them off the tree!! I would be grateful for any advice on pruning, as the tree is still a bit "straggly" - should I take out the lower branches, for instance - about a foot or two from the ground? It has reached about six feet high now, but still thin and supported by bamboos.


05 Sep 2009 
Took two varieties to Acorn Bank, near Temple Sowerby for identification. One was James Grieve. Small tree with southerly aspect. Intertwined with Egremont Russett. We get so many that we juice them at nearby communal pressing day. Lovely drink. Sharp initial taste.


30 Aug 2009 
Do james grieve apples store well as we are moving house ?


01 Aug 2009 
Question! I Have A James Grieve Apple Tree, And Would Like To Know If I Will Need Another Apple Tree For Polination Kind Regards Brian


31 May 2009 
I have a james grieve trained as an espalier against my garage wall. It is 7 years old and gives me loads of beautiful apples every year. Very reliable. Can be kept into the new year if stored carefully in a cool place.The photo is very misleading, its not the typical one. There is an old one outside the shop at RBG Edinburgh.Lots of flowers thie year, i will need to thin the fruit. The best apple for Scotland!


14 Dec 2008 
John, Can you tell me anything about James Grieve's resistance (or lack of resistance) to apple diseases? In particular, does it get scab? Not grown much in USA. I may plant test trees in my commercial orchard. Thanks. --Robb


24 Sep 2008 
i have a james grieves at one end of my garden and a orange cox pippin at the outher end, will they complement each outher? The James Grieve has just started to bear fruit this year and so has the Cox although sparse, how do i know when to harvest and what can i do to get the best from my apples as my wife and i can,not eat them all.


13 Aug 2008 
I inheriated a james grieve tree with my house, and have yet to try the apples but i have a bumper load on it, so this website has been good for me to find out what it can be used for.


27 Jul 2008 
My Grandfather planted a Grieve during the war, my greatest memories as a two year old was my grandmothe scraping the flesh with a spoon to give to me. I have just planted one last autumn and have wo to eat this year. I am getting very exited about re-living my childhood.


14 Apr 2008 
i have had conflicting comments as to whether James Grieve is self pollinating. Can someone please advise me. Answer: it is partially self-fertile.


05 Apr 2008 
This is my favourite apple. We have a good shaped tree in our garden. The apples are early and do not store very well. Wonderful flavour for eating straight from the tree. They also dry well and make a fantastic dried apple ring (I make these on my woodstove) and these store well in an airtight jar.... and really make my muesli lovely!


04 Mar 2008 
So.. J.Grieve needs a pollinator....what is the best? we have a couple of non descript apples close by and a Crab .. q2 how close need the pollinator be? all comments appreciated.


30 Jan 2008 
Does James Grieve need a pollinator? OP: Yes - it is partially self-fertile so a separate pollinator is best.


27 Sep 2007 
Thats my great grandads apple


14 Sep 2007 
We inherited two James Grieve when we moved into our house a year or so ago. We have enjoyed two bumper seasons and picked the apples early and late. This year we crushed and pressed about half of them and found that the earlies were slightly dry and produced an aromatic slightly acidic juice that is extremely light and refreshing. We hope the juice freezes well but cannot tell as yet. There is evidence of fire blight on the trees, which will be cut away hard this year after the last of the apples are used. Let's hope the trees are as resistant to disease as you indicate.


12 Sep 2007 
We inherited this apple which we have just identified. Agree totally. Vey sharp when just ripe but quickly yellows and softens. Have stewed loads to freeze( yes they keep their shape) and eaten loads with cheese. going to try juicing next year.



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A versatile cooking apple, excellent for juice, and widely used in breeding programmes.

James Grieve phototape

Origins

  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Potts Seedling ?
  • Originates from: Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Introduced: 1893
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1141
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession number: 1974-349

Identification

  • Fruit colour: Red / Green
  • Bultitude apple group: 4. Flushed / striped, smooth, dessert / dual-purpose

Using

  • Uses: Cooking
  • Uses: Juice
  • Uses: Hard cider
  • Cooking result: Keeps shape
  • Flavour quality: Average
  • Flavour style: Sharper
  • Harvest period: Mid season
  • Use / keeping: 1-2 months

Growing

  • Cropping: Good
  • Flowering period: Mid season
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Partially self-fertile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Pollinating others: Good
  • Vigour: Slightly large
  • Gardening skill: Very easy
  • General disease resistance: Average

Climate

  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Climate suitability: Tolerates cold winters Blossom is frost-resistant
  • Blossom frost-resistance: Good resistance
  • Blossom frost-resistance: Some resistance

Other qualities

  • Awards: RHS AGM 1993

Disease resistance

  • Canker  - Some resistance
  • Scab  - Some susceptibility
  • Fireblight  - Some susceptibility

Relationships to other varieties

Parents and other ancestors of this variety:

Offspring of this variety:

James Grieve identification photos from official fruit collections

ARS GRIN

©Copyright
ARS GRIN

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

James Grieve identification photos from website visitors


James Grieve (red)
James Grieve (red)

James Grieve apples
James Grieve apples

Copyright: S. Hockenhull

James Grieve blossom
James Grieve blossom

Copyright: S. Watt

James Grieve blossom
James Grieve blossom


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 James Grieve trees have been registered - click the name to view more details of each tree.

You can also view these trees on a map.

United Kingdom

Belgium

Denmark

France

Ireland

Italy

Netherlands

Spain

Sweden

  • Kent in GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN

Australia

  • Jenny in MELBOURNE, VICTORIA,

Switzerland

Poland

Norway



Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2013 season

  • 30th May  2013  - tree owned by Robert in AYR, United Kingdom
  • 22nd May  2013  - tree owned by Andrew in St Saviour, United Kingdom
  • 20th May  2013  - tree owned by Graham in Arkholme, United Kingdom
  • 20th May  2013  - tree owned by Hanne in Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • 18th May  2013  - tree owned by David in SLEAFORD, United Kingdom
  • 14th May  2013  - tree owned by Jean in Martock, United Kingdom
  • 9th May  2013  - tree owned by Bruce in TAUNTON, United Kingdom
  • 7th May  2013  - tree owned by Linda in NUNEATON, United Kingdom
  • 3rd May  2013  - tree owned by Stan in GARDENSTOWN, United Kingdom
  • 1st May  2013  - tree owned by Georgia in LONDON, United Kingdom
  • 14th April  2013  - tree owned by James in York, United Kingdom
  • April  2013  - tree owned by John in AYR, United Kingdom

2012 season

  • 26th May  2012  - tree owned by Robert in AYR, United Kingdom
  • 14th May  2012  - tree owned by Nickkk in OLDHAM, United Kingdom
  • 12th May  2012  - tree owned by margaret in STONEHAVEN, United Kingdom
  • 7th May  2012  - tree owned by Andrew in St Saviour, United Kingdom
  • 30th April  2012  - tree owned by Kate in WOOLER, United Kingdom
  • 25th April  2012  - tree owned by Linda in NUNEATON, United Kingdom
  • 23rd April  2012  - tree owned by Lenore in BEVERLEY, United Kingdom
  • 20th April  2012  - tree owned by Simon in DULEEK, Ireland
  • 16th April  2012  - tree owned by Bruce in TAUNTON, United Kingdom
  • 16th April  2012  - tree owned by James in York, United Kingdom
  • 25th March  2012  - tree owned by Georgia in LONDON, United Kingdom
  • 19th March  2012  - tree owned by Chris in CORK, Ireland
  • March  2012  - tree owned by Vanessa in Stevenage, United Kingdom

2011 season

  • 3rd May  2011  - tree owned by Stan in GARDENSTOWN, United Kingdom
  • 3rd May  2011  - tree owned by June in STOCKPORT, United Kingdom
  • 3rd May  2011  - tree owned by Keith in ABAERDEEN, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2011  - tree owned by Ellen in ST ANDREWS, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2011  - tree owned by Robert in AYR, United Kingdom
  • 25th April  2011  - tree owned by Malcolm in loughborough, United Kingdom
  • 20th April  2011  - tree owned by Dave in Belper, United Kingdom
  • 20th April  2011  - tree owned by David in SLEAFORD, United Kingdom
  • 17th April  2011  - tree owned by Bruce in TAUNTON, United Kingdom
  • 16th April  2011  - tree owned by James in York, United Kingdom
  • 15th April  2011  - tree owned by Lenore in BEVERLEY, United Kingdom
  • 14th April  2011  - tree owned by Ronan in DUBLIN, Ireland
  • 13th April  2011  - tree owned by James in MELBOURNE, United Kingdom
  • 13th April  2011  - tree owned by Dr in PETERSFIELD, United Kingdom
  • 12th April  2011  - tree owned by Simon in DULEEK, Ireland
  • March  2011  - tree owned by Vanessa in Stevenage, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • 20th May  2010  - tree owned by Mrs J in settle, United Kingdom
  • 15th May  2010  - tree owned by June in STOCKPORT, United Kingdom
  • 1st May  2010  - tree owned by David in SLEAFORD, United Kingdom
  • May  2010  - tree owned by David in SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom
  • 30th April  2010  - tree owned by Robert in AYR, United Kingdom
  • 29th April  2010  - tree owned by Elizabeth in EVESHAM, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2010  - tree owned by Cindy in Aldershot, United Kingdom
  • 3rd April  2010  - tree owned by Nikolai in DUBLIN, Ireland
  • April  2010  - tree owned by Fiona in NEWBURY, United Kingdom

2009 season

  •  May  2009  - tree owned by Mary in BEGBROKE, United Kingdom
  • 11th April  2009  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
  • April  2009  - tree owned by Malcolm in loughborough, United Kingdom
  • March  2009  - tree owned by Vanessa in Stevenage, United Kingdom

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

Latest harvest records for this variety

2013 season

  • 1st week October  2013  - tree owned by Robert in AYR, United Kingdom
  • October  2013  - tree owned by John in AYR, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week September  2013  - tree owned by Bruce in TAUNTON, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week September  2013  - tree owned by James in York, United Kingdom

2012 season

  • 2nd week October  2012  - tree owned by Georgia in LONDON, United Kingdom
  • 4th week September  2012  - tree owned by James in York, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week September  2012  - tree owned by Lenore in BEVERLEY, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2012  - tree owned by Andrew in St Saviour, United Kingdom
  • 1st week September  2012  - tree owned by Chris in CORK, Ireland
  • September  2012  - tree owned by Jennifer in HORTEN, Norway
  • September  2012  - tree owned by Julia in DURHAM, United Kingdom

2011 season

  • 1st week October  2011  - tree owned by June in STOCKPORT, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2011  - tree owned by Bruce in TAUNTON, United Kingdom
  • 1st week September  2011  - tree owned by James in MELBOURNE, United Kingdom
  • 4th week August  2011  - tree owned by Bas in Stevensweert, Netherlands

2010 season

  • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by Bluemarlin in BURNLEY, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by James in York, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2010  - tree owned by Nikolai in DUBLIN, Ireland
  • 2nd week September  2010  - tree owned by June in STOCKPORT, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2010  - tree owned by Dianne in NEWPORT, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2010  - tree owned by David in BANBURY, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2010  - tree owned by Robert in AYR, United Kingdom
  • September  2010  - tree owned by Fiona in NEWBURY, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week August  2010  - tree owned by Dr in PETERSFIELD, United Kingdom
  • August  2010  - tree owned by Vanessa in Stevenage, United Kingdom

2009 season

  • 3rd week September  2009  - tree owned by Nikolai in DUBLIN, Ireland
  • 3rd week September  2009  - tree owned by James in York, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2009  - tree owned by David in BANBURY, United Kingdom
  • 1st week September  2009  - tree owned by Dianne in NEWPORT, United Kingdom
  • 1st week September  2009  - tree owned by Jean in Martock, United Kingdom
  • 1st week September  2009  - tree owned by Bas in Stevensweert, Netherlands
  • September  2009  - tree owned by N. in CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week August  2009  - tree owned by Vanessa in Stevenage, United Kingdom
  • August  2009  - tree owned by Malcolm in loughborough, United Kingdom
  • August  2009  - tree owned by Mary in BEGBROKE, United Kingdom

Where to buy apple trees

The following fruit tree nurseries offer James Grieve apple trees for sale:

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