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

Jonathan apple

Last updated 04 Sep 2012.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 4.4 out of 5. Total votes cast: 38

Visitor comments

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

06 Oct 2018 
Born in the 50s I grew up on the rather short buying season for these delicious apple. They are hard to find these days and they don't store well, so don't stock up. I'm wondering how a side by side comparison with Jonagold would go. I think I will plant both.

06 Oct 2018 
My mother was born and raised in Iowa, and this is the apple that she remembered fondly. I had never eaten one until today when an old man in the neighborhood identified his tree as a Jonathan. I tried one, and it was like an explosion in my mouth! Sweet ,tart and crispy. Let's bring this wonderful old apple back!

23 Oct 2015 
In Vermont, this tree grows poorly: apples can be small and deformed, very susceptible to scab, and trees experience stunted growth. But the firm tartness of the flesh make this a rewarding Sour Patch kid for the tongue.

16 Sep 2015 
This is my absolute favorite apple. I grew up in Iowa and these would always be in the grocery store in the fall and winter. They keep for quite a long time and have an amazing sweet/sharp taste that's a bit acidic. I'd love to try a hard cider made from these apples. They're great for snacking and for cooking, but note that they remain somewhat firm in pies and applesauces. They don't mush up like McIntoshes. If you can't find them fresh, Stouffer's sells a frozen side called "Harvest Apples" which is essentially just Jonathan apples and cinnamon. I'm in the military and always seem to end up in places that don't carry these apples. I'm all the way out in Hawaii now and they're nowhere to be found! Woe is me!

02 Sep 2015 
I grew up in Kansas City. My parents would by a bushel of Jonathan's in the Fall and store them in the basement where they would last through the winter. My mom made the most unbelievable pies using Jonathan's. I think they are simply the best eating apples produced. Unfortunately here in the Phoenix area they haven't been available for 10 years or so. They have been replaced with Jonagolds, not the same. I have been told it's because of a longer shelf life. Too bad, I really miss them.

10 Feb 2015 
We have plenty of Johnathan's here. ...and you are right, they are delightful. I'm actually in Romania not Hungary, but this comment interface doesn't recognize Romania for some reason

29 Sep 2014 
Doesn't make any difference if they're USDA or organic or GMO!! Lol. Jonathans are the best apples ever! I can't seem to find them here where I live either. I guess they were like everything else, we liked them so well that the growers decided to stop. Sad that growers let such a good thing slip through their fingers. I don't like eating cardboard and that's what all the other varieties taste like!!

26 Sep 2014 
For me Jonathans are what an apple should taste like, tart, crisp, and rich. My parents' Jonathan apple tree is over 30 years old, so I'm not sure how much longer it will last, but it has almost ruined me on other apple varieties.

26 Sep 2014 
My parents had a Red Delicious, Jonathan, and Green Transparent. My mom used to make good tart applesauce from the Green Transparents, and the Red Delicious had the largest apples which were dark red and visually appealing, but if I wanted an apple to eat I picked one from the Jonathan tree. Jonathans have ruined me on other apple varieties. They are tart and crisp and for me other apples, especially store bought, taste bland and synthetic. Sadly, to me, I've had trouble finding Jonathan's in stores and that tree in my parent's yard, though it still produces apples is at least 30 years old.

14 Oct 2013 
No other variety can beat the Jonathans. My mother (a child of the depression era - no one can bake like them! :) ) swore by them for her out-of-this-world pies and desserts. This apple has gotten lost in the vast plethora of awful newer varieties, in my opinion. I don't think this generation has any idea of what should constitute a great apple! They are the best for eating and baking; best flavor hands down. They are plentiful (thankfully) in Michigan's wonderful season this year - I am so happy!

13 Oct 2013 
We have many Jonathans on our property here in U.P.

07 Sep 2013 
Jonathan apples are the very best, but they are hard to find. My mother used to ship them to me from Indiana.

03 Jun 2013 
I can not find Johnathan apples anywhere around me in a range of 50 miles, people tell me to try this apple or that apple and none compare with the Johnathan, they are best for eating and cooking so I gave up eating apples until I find Johnathan.

09 May 2013 
Jonathan has become a difficult to find apple. Here in Maryland I have to drive up to the Mount Airy / Frederick area to buy them directly from family owned orchards. They are worth the effort! Eating one of these apples is an experience: crisp, juicy, perfect sweet/tart balance, and an explosion of "appley" flavor. The best cider in the world was once sold at the old Cider Barrel in Germantown, which is sadly now long gone. The owners once told me that they used the juice from the Jonathan apple in the mix to add depth of flavor. Jonathan's are also excellent cooking apples. Basically the perfect American apple.

22 Jul 2012 
This was always my favorite apple for over 50 years, but it seems the ones sold in stores the past 10 years or so are just not up to "snuff". The old style Jonathan is hard to beat. Fuji comes close, but still not as good as the old time Jonathans were. Great apple for making caramel apples at Halloween.

24 Apr 2012 
I wait all year for the short season for Jonathans, my favorite eating apple!

15 Jan 2012 
Are these apples USDA organic?

15 Oct 2011 
If I had to choose just one variety of apple, this would be the one. Short shelf life, but best flavor.

28 Jan 2011 
them there apples r the best id ever had and them were so dern good it was like, BAM, and i didn't know what to do so i just kept eatin'em

12 Jan 2011 
I just came back from Niles, Michigan, and bought a peck of jonathan apples from Shelton Farms Market. I had bought them in Louisiana once, but they were not fresh. I'm so glad I looked for them in Michigan, where they are more often grown. They are as good as I remembered! My family grew up driving to Michigan to buy apples every fall for canning.

14 Oct 2010 
Back in the 70's and 80's, the Jonathons we got around here (Colorado) came in right after Labor Day and were small, tart and delicious. Now they don't show up until October and are large, mushy and not very tart. My theory is that the breeders have ruined them in the quest for ever larger fruit. Occasionally you can find some organic Jonathons similar to the old fashioned ones . I really miss them.

20 Sep 2010 
This apple was renamed "Kougyoku" when introduced into Japan. It was a standard here for a long time, until the (bland and insipid) Fuji came along. Thousands of acres of Kougyoku were ripped up and the orchards replanted with Fuji. However, it looks as though the Kougyoku is staging a comeback. Many older customers are now searching for this variety as, in agreement with the other comments above, they recall it as having had a superior flavour both as an eater and as a cooker. Many orchards are starting to restock and M9, virus-free seedlings are now widely available. And yes, it's a rollicking good apple!

15 Sep 2010 
Just had my first taste of one from the E.L. Sylvia Farm of Dighton, MA (they come to the Stoneham Farmer's market). A wonderful discovery!

08 Nov 2009 
I agree with this person.Jonathan apples were,are the best!But where do you buy them?I grew up in Washington State where ALL those were grown,and have family still there,and THEY can't find them either.Where can I buy them from a packer?

01 Nov 2009 
In the '40s and '50s, Mom used to buy Jonathan apples for us, even 'way down here on the Texas Gulf Coast, south of Houston. They were our favorites. But I haven't seen them in the stores for years. They're still my favorites. Jonagold and Honeycrisp are good, but not nearly as good as Jonathan. I know I'd eat a lot more apples if Jonathans were available at the local markets.

12 Oct 2009 
I need a source to buy Jonathans; anyone?

17 Sep 2009 
If you can get to Langhorne Pa. find Styers orchard. They allow you to 'pick your own' and that includes Jonathan apples. Thee apples are so sweet/tart and must be eaten with a napkin, to catch the juice. The family sold out the store a few years back, and you must drive behind the store to get to the pick your own spot. Well worth the trip.

22 Mar 2009 
We are growing one of these on our property. It has a grafted branch of granny smith apples and a local expert tells us this is required for the Jonathon to be more productive.

22 Feb 2009 
How could I not like this apple? ;-)

22 Oct 2008 
The Jonathan is my favorite apple for baking. In my opinion it makes the most flavorful and delicious apple pie possible. It has the perfect sweet/tart flavor for pie and any baked apple dessert. Sadly, in recent years it has become harder and harder to find around here. It only seems to be available for a short time in the fall and even then is hard to find.

08 Oct 2008 
This is probably my favorite eating apple, but I have only had it a very few times. I live on the East Coast of the USA, and from what I have been told it is more widely available in the Midwest (Ohio) than it is in the East. :-( To my mind the flavor does indeed have a nice balance of sweet with sharp, but infusing both is a distinct hint of spice. It is the only apple I know of whose flavor immediately reminds me of apple cider. To me when I bite into one it is as if I am biting into apple cider, a fascinating experience considering apple cider is a liquid! :-)

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A classic American variety, and widely regarded as one of the best flavoured with a good sweet/sharp balance. A precocious and productive tree in US apple-growing regions.

Jonathan phototape


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Espopus Spitzenberg seedling
  • Originates from: United States
  • Introduced: 1864
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1192
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1979-164
  • We are grateful to Brogdale Farm - home of the UK National Fruit Collection - for providing samples of this variety.


  • Flesh colour: White to Cream, pale yellow
  • Flesh colour: White to Greenish to Greenish Yellow
  • Fruit size: Medium
  • Fruit size: Large
  • Fruit size: Variable
  • Fruit size: Small
  • Fruit shape: Short-round-conical
  • Fruit shape: Round
  • Fruit shape: Round-conical
  • Fruit shape: Conical
  • Fruit shape: Oblong-conical
  • Fruit shape: Oblong
  • Shape features (vertical view): Lop-sided, unequal sides, irregular
  • Shape features (vertical view): Symmetrical
  • Shape uniformity: Lack Uniformity in size & shape
  • Shape uniformity: Uniform, in size and shape
  • Bultitude apple group: 6. Red flushed, smooth, sweet
  • Russet % coverage: Low
  • Basin russet: Gray to Brown Russet
  • Basin russet: Little, light russet
  • Basin russet: Usually Russet free


  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Uses: Cooking
  • Uses: Drying
  • Cooking result: Textured puree
  • Flavour quality: Very good
  • Flavour style: Sharp / refreshing
  • Flavour style: Sweeter
  • Flavour style: Sharper
  • Flavour style: Sweet/Sharp
  • Flavour style: Aromatic
  • Flavour style: Vinous
  • Harvest period: Late season


  • Cropping: Heavy
  • Flowering period: Mid season
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Partially self-fertile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average growth
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
  • Period of origin: 1800 - 1849


  • Chilling: Low-chill A borderline case - only needs about 700 hours


  • Canker  - Some susceptibility
  • Scab  - Very susceptible
  • Mildew  - Some susceptibility
  • Fireblight  - Very susceptible
  • Cedar apple rust  - Very susceptible


  • Woolly aphid  - Some resistance

Relationships to other varieties

Parents and other ancestors of this variety:

Offspring of this variety:

Sports (natural genetic mutations) of this variety:

See also:

  • Lady Williams - Jonathan has been suggested as a possible parent of Lady Williams.

References and further reading about this variety

  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as highly susceptible - control always needed where CAR is prevalent.

  • Apples for the 21st Century
    Author: Manhart
  • Apples of England (1948)
    Author: Taylor

Jonathan identification photos from official fruit collections

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Jonathan 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 Jonathan 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





New Zealand




Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2017 season

  • 19th October  2017  - tree owned by Neville in Tea Tree Gully, Australia

2016 season

  • 18th October  2016  - tree owned by Neville in Tea Tree Gully, Australia

2014 season

  • 10th May  2014  - tree owned by Jeff in Reading, United States

2013 season

  • 19th May  2013  - tree owned by Mike in Westfield, United States
  • 15th April  2013  - tree owned by Beth in Dequeen, United States
  • April  2013  - tree owned by Kassie in Marysville, United States

2012 season

  • April  2012  - tree owned by Johan in Gent, Belgium

2010 season

  • 15th October  2010  - tree owned by Marinus in Mount Evelyn, Australia
  • 5th May  2010  - tree owned by Johan in Gent, Belgium
  • 12th April  2010  - tree owned by Natalie in Chesapeake, United States

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

Latest harvest records for this variety

2017 season

    2016 season

      2014 season

        2013 season

        • 4th week October  2013  - tree owned by Alison in Albion, United States
        • October  2013  - tree owned by Slippy in Hamburg, United States
        • 1st week September  2013  - tree owned by Vincent in Bowmanville, Canada
        • September  2013  - tree owned by in Thawville, United States
        • 3rd week August  2013  - tree owned by Kassie in Marysville, United States
        • 2nd week August  2013  - tree owned by Beth in Dequeen, United States
        • 4th week March  2013  - tree owned by Katrina in Nelson, New Zealand

        2012 season

        • October  2012  - tree owned by Johan in Gent, Belgium
        • 1st week September  2012  - tree owned by Laurie in Belton, United States
        • September  2012  - tree owned by Colleen in Occidental, United States
        • 2nd week August  2012  - tree owned by J. in Danville, United States
        • 2nd week August  2012  - tree owned by J. in Danville, United States

        2010 season

        • October  2010  - tree owned by Freyja in Kings Meaburn/ Penrith, United Kingdom

        Where to buy trees

        The following fruit tree nurseries offer Jonathan apple trees for sale:

        • Cummins Nursery
          United States  More >>

        Where to buy fresh fruit

        United Statesmap >

        United Kingdommap >

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