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Cornish Gilliflower apple

Cornish Gilliflower is probably the best and most widely-grown of the apple varieties originating from Cornwall.  It has all the attributes of the classic Victorian English apple - notably a sweet aromatic flavour with perfumed overtones and an attractive flushed appearance.  It is acknowledged as one of the best-flavoured English apples.

It is also a relatively good keeper, and can be eaten well into the new year.

The Victorian author Hogg explained the origin of the word "gilliflower" or "gillyflower" as being a corruption of the French word "girofle" signifying clove - and the blossom of this variety has a clove-like scent.

Hogg also recommends growing this variety as an espalier on dwarf rootstock - although modern authorities would not recommend this style because Cornish Gilliflower bears apples on the tips of its branches, making it unsuitable for training in this way.

Last updated 04 Jun 2013.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 2.6 out of 5. Total votes cast: 8

Visitor comments

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

13 Oct 2016 
Just tasted my first apple off my Cornish Gilliflower. Wow! I've marked it down to cut lots of scion wood this winter with the aim of top-working a couple of trees over to this variety. A great apple - only downside is - at least in my case - it was a long time (seven years) coming into bearing. Worth the wait though - the flavour is outstanding.

15 Nov 2013 
We have a Cornish Gillyflower although it looks more russety than in the picture - not a hint of red. Very erratic and biennial bearer, though very delicious apples. They may be keepers but are gorgeous straight off the tree, so we'll probably never know.

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An important English apple of the Victorian era, with a good sweet aromatic flavour.

Cornish Gilliflower phototape


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Originates from: Truro, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
  • Introduced: 1813
  • Developed by: Discovered by Sir Christopher Hawkins
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1100
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1947-116


  • Fruit colour: Red / Green
  • Bultitude apple group: 7. Flushed / striped, some russeting, sweet


  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Flavour quality: Very good
  • Flavour style: Aromatic
  • Harvest period: Late season
  • Use / keeping: 3 months or more


  • Flowering period: Mid-Late season
  • Flowering group: 4
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Slightly large
  • Fruit bearing: Tip-bearer
  • General disease resistance: Average


  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates

References and further reading about this variety

  • Apples of England (1948)
    Author: Taylor

Cornish Gilliflower identification photos from official fruit collections

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Cornish Gilliflower identification photos from website visitors

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 Cornish Gilliflower 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




  • Hayden in Winslow, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2018 season

  • 30th May  2018  - tree owned by Jim in Mequon, United States
  • 27th April  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2017 season

  • May  2017  - tree owned by Jim in Mequon, United States
  • 15th April  2017  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2016 season

  • 14th April  2016  - tree owned by Kenneth in Topeka, United States

2012 season

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

Latest harvest records for this variety

2018 season

    2017 season

      2016 season

        2012 season

          Where to buy trees

          The following fruit tree nurseries offer Cornish Gilliflower apple trees for sale:

          Where to buy fresh fruit

          United Statesmap >

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