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

Kidd's Orange Red apple

Kidd's Orange Red is named after James Hutton Kidd, an orchard owner living in New Zealand in the early 20th century who had a passion for raising new varieties. Kidd might have been living in the New World, but he was clearly a fan of the complex aromatic flavours of the "English" style of apple. Like many before and since, he experimented with crossing Cox's Orange Pippin, the temperamental but definitive English apple variety. In Kidd's Orange Red he achieved that something special which marks the great from the ordinary, and set a benchmark that has rarely been matched - this is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding "English" style apples available.

The skin colour is yellow but with an extensive orange-red flush. The irregular light patches of russet give it a strongly marbled appearance - more interesting to look at than the super-smooth glossy red skins of the more modern varieties. As it ripens Kidd's Orange Red sometimes has a distinctive pink blush, but by the time it is ready to pick this has usually disappeared. The shape is slightly flattened and can be somewhat lumpy.

The visual appeal is matched by the taste. The skin is thin and the flesh is a light yellow-cream colour, and quite dense. It bites cleanly, but is firm rather than crunchy. The flavour is sweet and honeyed, noticeably sweeter than Cox's Orange Pippin. The aromatic complexity of its parent is still there, but rich sweetness is the predominant impression. Like many "English" style apples it is also pleasantly chewy, and each bite seems to release yet more juice and flavour. It's in some ways reminiscent of a good French dessert wine - sweet, but with a good kick to it.

Kidd's Orange Red's other parent is Delicious a seedling variety found in the USA in the 1870s (not to be confused with Golden Delicious) and by Kidd's time already a major commercial apple variety, and therefore a natural choice for experimentation. This is where Kidd's Orange Red gets its sweetness from.

Kidd's Orange Red is a late season variety, ripening around mid-October in the northern hemisphere. It is best eaten before the New Year.

Kidd's Orange Red is often available from farmers' markets but has never really achieved commercial success because it does not crop especially heavily.  However it is a good choice for the gardener because it is easier to grow than Cox's Orange Pippin, and unlike Delicious can also be grown in more temperate climates.  Once the tree comes into bearing it tends to be a fairly reliable if unspectacular cropper.  Cropping can be improved by gently bending branches towards the horizontal and then tying them into position when they are still young and pliable - left un-trained Kidd's Orange Red trees tend to put out long vertical branches which are less fruitful.

Kidd developed several other apples, the most famous being Gala.  More details on the life of James Hutton Kidd.

If you are looking for a top quality apple tree for the garden, Kidd's Orange Red deserves serious consideration.

Last updated 16 Oct 2012.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 4.4 out of 5. Total votes cast: 12

Visitor comments

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

14 Oct 2017 
After much research I planted one of these trees as an espalier in a sunny corner of my garden three years ago. Just had my first crop, not heavy, just a dozen apples but the fruit were larger than expected from the description I'd read, those dozen weighing in at a tad under 7lb. The apples are delicious. When eaten straight after picking they are crisp but after a couple of days change to being as described. The flavour is exceptional, possibly more sweet than a Cox but I would say the difference is imperceptible, all in I'm very pleased with my choice and am hoping for more crop next year.

08 Oct 2017 
Tasted at RHS Rosemoor's Apple Weekend, it had a good texture and was delicious. Looking forward to planting one among others.

13 Mar 2015 
Kidds, I've about 15 trees on bud-9 in med clayloam (all my soil is this rich-no water, no fertilizer) 65 deg. mean avg temp. Perfect, simple, regular bearing. I like keepers and this isn't unless picked early. Cox Orange is better to be sure-it's the shape and texture that wins it over. Kidd's reminds me of gala-shape texture, certainly better flavor, Fiesta and Alkmene are better.

15 Oct 2013 
We moved into our present home in the early 80's. There was an apple tree in the garden which we were unable to identify until recently. The Marcher Apple Society told us it was a Kidd's Orange Red. I have to say that it is undoubtedly one of the best apples I have ever tasted, the flavour is so intense and more than sweet almost like a good dessert wine. So pleased that we finally know what variety it is.

03 Jul 2013 
Tasted 1 at our local food festival some years ago & was hooked.Bought 2 trees immediately.Pest&disease resistance is great,though not a heavy cropper(only thing preventing it from grown commercially.Thoroughly recommend but not as a single tree as self-sterile

09 Sep 2012 
I've had a few of these Kidd's Orange Red this year from a farm stand and I really cant tell the difference between these and a prime Cox's Orange Pippin. Its been said these are sweeter, but I cant taste it. Its a superb apple to eat. Its texture is melting as described in texts and is very easy to eat. It may be overwhelming to those not accustomed to eating strong flavored apples,t keeps your taste buds busy with a kaleidescope of flavors. I dont taste any Delicious flavors at all, it just has the Delicious shape. Its a crime these arent sold in place of Gala, because they put them to shame in appearance and taste.

14 Mar 2011 
My Grandfather F.E.Williamson imported the first Kidds Orange Red tree from New Zealand in 1932. That tree helped our family grow Williamson Fruit Farms Ltd to being the largest grower of Kidds in UK in 1980's. Today my father still keeps a few trees on our farm in Suffolk. We make a small volume of Kidds Apple Juice.

09 Apr 2010 
does anyone know where i can find these trees in canada?

01 Dec 2009 
We are planting a Heritage Orchard at the moment and would like to include 2 Kidds Orange Red Apple trees, after tasting these delicous apples at North creake apple fair, We are finding it difficult tracing these trees and would appreciate details of a supplier of these trees in the Norfolk area.

31 Aug 2009 
I have Kidds grafted to a Cox Orange Pippin. Scion wood given by a friend years ago. The apple is fabulous. Great for eating or cooking. I make applesauce using no sugar or spices; just Kidds and a bit of apple juice. The flavor is outstanding.

12 Apr 2009 
I found your site when I was doing research on the Gala, a favorite of mine, and I just wanted to say I love your enthusiastic prose style, especially in this piece.

07 Apr 2009 
Kidd's Orange Red has just one our 2009 apple of the year at the Petty's Heritage apple festival, this has been held by the Heritage Fruits Society Inc for 11years, which runs a tasting tent with about 100 variities for the public to taste and vote on. more info

29 Oct 2008 
I was at Brogdale (National Apple Collection) today and bought a Kidd's Orange Red tree, having read these recommendations. They had some of the apples for sale and I have to say they really are wonderful. They reminded me more of pear drops than parma violets and have the most wonderful sweetness - this in a year with not a huge amount of sunshine. I have a small old orchard with a lot of cookers in (Bramley and Howgate) so I am looking forward to next year's crop immensely! Just have to weed out some self-sown sycamore to make room.

23 Oct 2008 
On the West Coast, at least, I've not found this not to resemble in any great way the wonderfullness of Cox Orange. For me it has some of the cloying qualities of Red Delicious. Now Belle de Boskoop, that's another story...

02 Sep 2008 
I used to get these every year from my local greengrocer who clearly knew what he was up to. The first time I ate one I had a 'Proustian' moment - you know: that sensation you get when you taste something you have not tasted for years and which transports you to some wonderful childhood memory! Kidds are like apples used to be: truly the best!

11 Oct 2007 
I agree. This apple is unbeatable. Aside from its superb eating qualities, I find it completely pest and disease resistant, no need to thin and keeps well till the new year. I always recommend this variety to people who want to plant an apple tree.

19 Sep 2007 
This is probably my favourite of the 30 different varieties I've planted over the past 18 years. It's a beautifully shaped, healthy tree (standard), would be fine if it was never pruned, has had a good crop every year and the flavour is evolving but delicious over about twelve weeks. It's my favourite juicing apple and will happily wait till I get round to the task in November, unlike the earlier varieties in the orchard.

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Marries the complex aromatic qualities of English Cox apples with the scented flavour of American Delicious. A good apple for the gardener as well.

Kidd's Orange Red phototape


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Delicious x Cox's Orange Pippin
  • Originates from: Greytown, New Zealand
  • Introduced: 1924
  • Developed by: James Hutton Kidd
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1038
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1973-158


  • Fruit colour: Red / Orange flush
  • Flesh colour: White to Cream, pale yellow
  • Fruit size: Medium
  • Fruit shape: Conical
  • Shape features (vertical view): Indented or Waisted
  • Shape features (vertical view): Lop-sided, unequal sides, irregular
  • Shape features (vertical view): Ribs more pronounced at apex, toward basin
  • Shape features (vertical view): Tapering toward calyx end or apex
  • Shape uniformity: Uniform in shape, Variable in size
  • Shape uniformity: Uniform, in size and shape
  • Bultitude apple group: 7. Flushed / striped, some russeting, sweet
  • Russet % coverage: Medium
  • Russet % coverage: Low
  • Basin russet: Little, light russet
  • Basin russet: Usually Russet free


  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Uses: Cooking
  • Uses: Juice
  • Uses: Drying
  • Flavour quality: Exceptional
  • Flavour style: Sweet/Sharp
  • Flavour style: Aromatic
  • Flavour style: Honeyed / Scented
  • Harvest period: Mid-Late season
  • Use / keeping: 1-2 months Will keep in a cold store until Christmas


  • Cropping: Light
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average growth
  • Gardening skill: Very easy
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
  • Attractive features: Attractive blossom
  • General disease resistance: Average Not usually troubled by scab or mildew
  • Period of origin: 1900 - 1949


  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Climate suitability: Tolerates cold winters

Other qualities

  • Awards: RHS AGM 1993


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

Relationships to other varieties

Parents and other ancestors of this variety:

Offspring of this variety:

See also:

  • Freyberg - Developed by same breeder - J.H. Kidd of New Zealand

References and further reading about this variety

Kidd's Orange Red identification photos from official fruit collections



Kidd's Orange Red identification photos from website visitors

Kidd's Orange Red - not quite ripe yet
Kidd's Orange Red - not quite ripe yet


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 Kidd's Orange Red 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

  • 5th May  2017  - tree owned by Michael in BINGHAM, United Kingdom
  • 28th April  2017  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom

2016 season

  • 12th May  2016  - tree owned by Michael in BINGHAM, United Kingdom

2015 season

  • 5th May  2015  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom

2014 season

  • March  2014  - tree owned by Simon in SANT MIQUEL DE FLUVIÀ, Spain

2013 season

  • 21st May  2013  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom
  • 16th May  2013  - tree owned by Jean in Martock, United Kingdom
  • 14th May  2013  - tree owned by Roger in BURTON LATIMER, United Kingdom
  • 7th May  2013  - tree owned by Reb in GLOUCESTER, United Kingdom
  • 12th April  2013  - tree owned by Simon in SANT MIQUEL DE FLUVIÀ, Spain

2012 season

  • 21st May  2012  - tree owned by Nickkk in OLDHAM, United Kingdom
  • 25th April  2012  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom
  • 19th April  2012  - tree owned by Reb in GLOUCESTER, United Kingdom
  • 2nd April  2012  - tree owned by Bob in NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom
  • 30th March  2012  - tree owned by Angie in JALON, Spain

2011 season

  • 19th April  2011  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom
  • 16th April  2011  - tree owned by Roger in BURTON LATIMER, United Kingdom
  • 16th April  2011  - tree owned by Reb in GLOUCESTER, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • 15th October  2010  - tree owned by Mark in Rangiora, New Zealand
  • 10th May  2010  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom
  • 3rd May  2010  - tree owned by Stuart in Newbury, United Kingdom
  • 1st May  2010  - tree owned by Roger in BURTON LATIMER, United Kingdom
  • 29th April  2010  - tree owned by Marian in STREET, United Kingdom

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

Latest harvest records for this variety

2017 season

  • 1st week October  2017  - tree owned by Michael in BINGHAM, United Kingdom

2016 season

    2015 season

    • September  2015  - tree owned by Roger in MADISON HEIGHTS, United States

    2014 season

      2013 season

        2012 season

        • 4th week October  2012  - tree owned by Jean in Martock, United Kingdom
        • 3rd week October  2012  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom

        2011 season

        • 1st week October  2011  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom
        • 3rd week September  2011  - tree owned by Reb in GLOUCESTER, United Kingdom

        2010 season

          Where to buy trees

          The following fruit tree nurseries offer Kidd's Orange Red apple trees for sale:

          Where to buy fresh fruit

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