Decio is a very old apple variety, believed by almost all sources to have
originated in Roman times, albeit with little evidence. However there is
more certain evidence of its existence in Italy in the Middle Ages, so
whatever the origins it is clearly a very old variety, and probably the
oldest currently available apple variety in existence with any kind of
history before the 17th century.
Decio is a small apple, mostly green, but with a red flush. In the UK it
should not be picked until late in November (perhaps suggesting that it
does come from a warmer climate ...), and it will keep well into the
following year. The flavour is lacklustre, and there is not much juice.
The flesh is fairly soft, yet quite dense. For all that, it is perfectly
Decio is clearly a very primitive variety and therefore fascinating to
compare with modern apple varieties from the late 20th century. In many
ways this is a bit like comparing the Wright Flyer with Concorde - they are
both aeroplanes, but the technological gulf between them is enormous.
Decio is simply out-classed in every way by almost any modern apple
by modern standards has little to recommend it. However its appeal lies in
its history, and there is apparently still some demand from gardeners who
want to be able to eat the same variety that was perhaps enjoyed by the
Romans, and a number of specialist fruit tree nurseries still supply it.
Unfortunately it is not known if Decio is a direct ancestor of any more
recent apple varieties.
Decio identification photos
UK National Fruit Collection
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Copyright: Orange Pippin
Where to buy trees
The following tree nurseries offer Decio apple trees for sale:
- Keepers Nursery
Where to buy fresh fruit