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

Nonpareil apple

Nonpareil is one of the oldest of all apple varieties.  The Victorian pomologist Robert Hogg believed it came from France to England in the 16th century, and noted that its aromatic qualities were apparently better appreciated in England than in the land of its birth.  Hogg noted that Nonpareil grew best in the south of England (closest to France), and the flavour was less successful when grown in the north of England.

Nonpareil belongs to a small group of apples which have the flavour of pear-drops.  This flavour component is fairly unusual, but is also found in one of Nonpareil's probable descendants, Ashmead's Kernel.

Visually, Nonpareil's dull russet colouring is not that attractive - the appeal of this apple is its unique strong pear-drop flavour.

Last updated 26 Jan 2014.

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Current rating: 5.0 out of 5. Total votes cast: 1

Visitor comments

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

24 Dec 2011 
I have a tree that was sold to me as a Ross Nonpareil. This tree has never done much as far as growth or cropping, but it produces a few small apples every year. The apples have a tough, rough, russeted skin, flesh like a weak sponge, and modest juice. However, one in five fruits has an ambrosial aftertaste, a combination of honey and pear, that is unlike any other apple. The majority of fruits are very acid with little redeeming value - "spitters". This winter I am heavily liming my orchard, mulching, and fertilizing with potassium, magnesium., sulfur, and nitrogen. We shall see whether this particular tree is happier next season.

01 Feb 2011 
We use Non Pareil from the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens (Nova Scotia, Canada) as a key ingredient in sweet cider. We call it the ugly apple. It is not a great eating apple, and does not appear juicy, but has an incredible amount of juice.

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A very old apple variety from France, which became very popular in England. It has a distinctive pear-drop flavour.

Nonpareil phototape


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Unknown
  • Originates from: France
  • Introduced: 16th century
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1583
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 2000-072


  • Bultitude apple group: 8. Russeted, sweet


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


  • Cropping: Good
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Vigour: Average growth
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer

Relationships to other varieties

Offspring of this variety:

References and further reading about this variety

  • Apples of England (1948)
    Author: Taylor

Nonpareil identification photos from official fruit collections

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Nonpareil 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 Nonpareil 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

  • J. M. in LIMA, TWP., MI

United Kingdom


Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2010 season

  • 15th May  2010  - tree owned by Clare in CONGLETON, United Kingdom

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

Latest harvest records for this variety

2010 season

  • 2nd week October  2010  - tree owned by Clare in CONGLETON, United Kingdom

Where to buy fresh fruit

United Kingdommap >

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