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

Ariane apple

Ariane is a very new apple variety, developed in France, and the first commercial orchards were only planted in 2002. Like all new commercial varieties it is the subject of extensive marketing. The publicity material rather clumsily makes much of the link with the Ariane space rocket (launching into orbit etc.), with which it shares a name, but not much else.

The origins of Ariane are a good illustration of the changes that modern scientific techniques have brought to apple breeding programmes. Many famous apple varieties of the 19th and 20th centuries were developed by what might be called single-generation crosses of interesting varieties. In contrast Ariane has been developed through a series of more than 30 laboratory-reared intermediate generations. One of the original grand-parents is Rome Beauty a popular American multi-purpose apple variety originating in the 19th century - but after 30 generations the link might seem rather tentative. Other varieties in the mix include Florina, Prima, Semis Golden.

One of the main reasons for this lengthy breeding programme is the desire to develop an apple with a built-in genetic resistance to some of the more common apple diseases such as scab (la tavelure in French). Scientists have identified a gene called Vf which is found naturally in the Japanese flowering crab apple (Malus floribunda, a cousin of Malus domestica the species to which most edible apple varieties belong) and confers resistance to apple scab. Crab apples have traditionally been used as pollinators in apple orchards, and cross-breed with apples in the wild. A number of well known apples such as Egremont Russet also have strong resistance to scab and this may have arisen naturally from cross-pollination with crab apples in the past. However in Ariane this process has been carried out scientifically and in a few decades rather than by chance over hundreds of years.

The great advantage of apples with genetic resistance to diseases like scab is that they need less pesticide and fungicide sprays during the growing season. (Standard treatment for non-resistant apples could require up to 15 fungicide sprays a year) This offers growers the possibility of lower production costs, makes it easier to grow the apples commercially in organic regimes, and is likely to be appreciated by consumers who are concerned about inappropriate use of chemicals in agriculture. However an important problem with disease resistant apples with the Vf gene is that the resulting fruit quality has often been disappointing. Breeders have struggled to produce apple varieties which retain the disease resistance of the crab apple yet are easy to grow in modern orchards, and above all are appealing to consumers.

Despite this apparent handicap, in appearance and flavour Ariane does very well. The apple has a very attractive bright crimson flush over a golden green background, flecked with attractive tiny patches of russet and pronounced lenticels. Perhaps surprisingly the shape, slight russeting, and especially the strong red coluring of its distant grandparent Rome Beauty are still very much there in Ariane. The base of the apple is noticeably inverted, quite similar to Court Pendu Plat. The flesh is fairly dense, cream-coloured, and not particularly juicy. The flavour is very acceptable - there is a hint of pear-drop, neither too sweet or too sharp. Ariane is best served slightly chilled.

USDA identification images for Ariane

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

    Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety

    Visitor reviews

    • 19 Oct 2018  MARYLAND, United States
      I picked up some fresh Ariane apples from the Super U in Ustaritz, France on 13 October 2018. The apple was crisp, not too sweet--slightly sweeter than a Honey Crisp yet not as sweet as a Jazz. It tasted fruity and had a notably dense texture compared to a Jazz. The apples were chilled and juicy.
    • 13 Mar 2015  MIDI PYRENEES, France
      I have struggled to find an eating apple that is to my taste here in France, most French apples being too sweet and bland for me with a cotton woolly texture. Ariane is the nearest one I have found to what I consider to be the true apple taste, full of flavour with a hint of acidity. The flesh is very crisp and though not overly juicy is certainly not dry. Bravo.
    • 11 Apr 2014  FAVERSHAM, United Kingdom
      It's hard to find Ariane anywhere. Sainsbury's did sell them (over a year ago) but they haven't appeared this last autumn/winter. A very tasty apple!
    • 17 Feb 2013  DEVON, United Kingdom
      I find it very tasty and had to eat a second one too! Hooray, a supermarket apple worth eating at last. Mine were from Iceland at £1 a bag. I hope they remain available.
    • 27 Nov 2011  GLASGOW, United Kingdom
      Bought a bag of these apples in morrisons , fantanstic value for money kids really love them .
    • 03 Jul 2011  SURREY, United Kingdom
      Very tasty, but also very variable. They can be absolutely delicious one year, and corky and tasteless the next. At their best they have a slightly tart taste and an unusually firm flesh, almost like raw potato. They don't keep too well, so you shouldn't buy more than you can eat in a week.
    • 15 Mar 2011  WEST YORKSHIRE, United Kingdom
      Just found this apple - a very sharp and sweetish taste, very firm, just the right size, a certain winner for anyone who cares to stock this variety, sadly after 1 week in the local Morrisons - no further supplies - TESCO here I come
    • 20 Jan 2011  CHESHIRE, United Kingdom
      This apple is delicious got some from the supermarket and loved the taste. Hope it stays on sale for a long time
    • 21 Nov 2010  FYN, Denmark
      One of the absolut best appels I have ever tasted.
    • 13 Mar 2010  SOUTH YORKSHIRE, United Kingdom
      Very very crisp and tasty, on the small side but delicious, highly recommended
    • 11 Nov 2009  PERTH, SCOTLAND, United Kingdom
      Just bought a bag of Ariane from Tesco. I think they are fantastic, not too big but lots of flesh and only a small core. Really sweet and crisp. I thought they were quite juicy and certainly not dry. Delicious!
    • 09 Nov 2009  IRELAND, Ireland
      I just bought a bag of these in the Disney size tesco ones. I already love them and I love how they are scab resistant.
    • 19 May 2009  DORDOGNE FRANCE, France
      I bought these apples a few days ago in the supermarket.Trying them today with cheese I was surprised at the insides as they looked as if they were going bad but tasted very good.Will definitely try them again and will try cooking with them as there are no real cooking apples to be had here that I have found.
    • 26 Mar 2009  United Kingdom
      Dear Orange Pippin, Your information on Ariane very interesting. (I've not tried it yet.) I don't understand what you mean by '30 laboratory-reared intermediate generations'. Does this mean that one generation is grown from seed to maturity & the fruit from it is used to provide seed for the next generation? If so, surely this would take hundresd of years to go through 30 generations. I'd be very grateful if you could perhaps elucidate further. Many thanks, G. Levine
    • 11 Jan 2009  West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
      I heartily endorse Chris Charles's comments and wish to congratulate Tesco on their selling of this wonderful apple. I am heartily sick of the eternal round of Braeburns and Royal Gala and absolutely refuse to buy French Golden Delicious which though always cosmetically perfect are utterly tasteless. This apple also keeps well unlike my other favourite, Russets, so I hope it will be on sale for an extended period. Hearty congratulations to all involved in the breeding of this apple, it was well worth the wait to get an apple with such flavour in addition to all its benefits to growers and sellers.
    • 11 Dec 2008  MONACO, Monaco
      Came across this variety for the first time in the local supermarket this past week. What a discovery! In my childhood, apples were a major treat -- rich in aroma and flavour. But as the years passed, I grew tired of the fruit as I found the apples in the supermarket lacked true character; they were either bland or too sweet with no distinguishable flavour. These Ariane apples, however, have rekindled my feelings for this fruit. Love its crispness, although it took a while to accept such firmness of flesh in a apple; love the delicate fragrance; love the tartness at the first bite and the apple-y flavour that lingers on the tongue afterwards. Also, this is a lovely cooking apple that breaks down into a versatile puree. A big "merci" to the breeders of the Ariane!
    • 15 Nov 2008  NICE, France
      I started eating Ariane last year which i bought at the supermarket Carrefour here in Nice and they re very good , nice crisp bite , sweet but not overly so , good skin colour red and yellow and greenish. I would and do eat 6 or 8 a day when they are in season. They cost euro 2.00 for 14 and think that is good value for money . I give them 10/10
    • 12 Nov 2008  WINCHESTER, United Kingdom
      This apple is simply fantastic! It's a testament to the 20+ years it took to develop. I could eat them until the cows come home!!!
    • 29 Oct 2008  NOAILHAC, France
      I am an apple eater because I was taught in my youth that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and besides, I like apples. I never found an apple that really suited me so I would eat this variety and that variety, never being totally satisfied. That is not until I saw Arianes in the produce market. One bite and I was hooked and I have remained hooked ever since which is about four years. I eat at least one a day and sometimes I can't resist a second one. For me Arianes combine a superb crisp snappy texture with a great not sweet taste, but a taste with real character. I have tried many many varieties, and for me Ariane is the absolute best.
    • 29 Oct 2008  GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK, United Kingdom
      Its sharp and tasty, what I am not sure about is what looks like red blood veins that appear inside it, I thought it was my gums bleeding at first, they are kind of off putting and I may not buy them again for that reason.
    • 03 Oct 2007  FRANCE, France
      I bought some of these apples in the local market this week to try, as I had not heard of them before. They were delicious; sweet, juicy with a hint of tartness and slightly perfumed. The stallholder mentioned that they had not been treated. From your interesting information, for which I thank you, I can understand why. The French believe in the concept of "terroir" and I think there is a lot of truth in this. A given food variety will taste different according to growing conditions. Hence my experience of this apple is different from your description. Inge Beck

    Tree register

    We don't have any registered trees for this variety yet. If you have a Ariane tree you can register it here.


    • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
    • Parentage: Florina x Prima + Golden Delicious seedling
    • Originates from: France
    • Introduced: 2000
    • Developed by: INRA, Angers


    • Country of origin: France
    • Fruit colour: Red / Green


    • Picking season: Late
    • Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
    • Flavour quality: Very good
    • Flavour style (apples): Sweet/Sharp
    • Cropping: Good
    • Food uses: Eating fresh


    • Flowering group: 2
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Vigour: Vigorous
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile


    • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
    • Climate suitability: Warm climates

    Other qualities

    • Disease resistance: Good

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    No orchards have registered as growing this variety. If you grow this and want to register please go to our Orchard Registration form.

    Varieties you viewed