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

Catshead apple

Catshead is one of the oldest apples known in England.  The name comes from its alleged resemblance to a cat's head - perhaps not immediately obvious, although the shape is unusually conical and can be ribbed.

Like most old English apples Catshead is primarily a culinary apple.  The flesh is juicy with a fair amount of acidity, but does not need much additional sugar when cooking.  It cooks down to a puree.

Catshead identification images

  • Catshead

USDA identification images for Catshead

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.

    Offspring of this variety


    Visitor reviews

    • 25 Sep 2022 
      Found a large old tree near Battisford, Suffolk, with a good crop of fragrant large cookers - identified as Catshead. Took some cuttings and the local plant nursery grew one on, planted in Melton Church in 2014 as the first tree in our Scattered Orchard. This year has a tremendous crop of delicious scented angular fruit. Last year I took a cutting on an apple tree in my garden which has taken so hoping for more in a few years!
    • 07 Oct 2016  EAST LOTHIAN, United Kingdom
      We like the Catshead apple as a stewed fruit. It crops very heavily on our heavy alkaline soil.
    • 05 Oct 2016  WASHINGTON, United States
      I learned just the other day this is also called Pigsnout, which is a name a friend wants in his orchard. Will try grafting it next season. Too few interesting and historical apples are grown now in the Land Ruled By Red Delicious, which rule is declining fast. Anyone growing this in a dry locale?
    • 03 Sep 2011  LANCASHIRE, United Kingdom
      We have a Catshead tree in our garden and it produces a good crop each year. It is susceptible to codling moth (aren't they all) so we don't get a lot of perfect fruits, even after using grease bands over winter. It cooks down to a superb puree, and has a good flavour.
    • 01 Nov 2009  BOSTON, United States
      Because I am a history nut, I got interested in early American foodstuffs and found out a little bit of interesting information: Catshead is the first known variety the early settlers of Virginia planted, probably as early as 1620. It would probably have been brought across the sea carefully planted in a barrel as a sapling, brought as a little tiny "comfort food" from home. "So why is Roxbury Russet listed as the oldest American apple?" -Roxbury Russet is the oldest known NATIVE apple. The problem with the varieties the French, British, and Dutch trees was that they were not accustomed to North America's climate or endemic pests, like fireblight. It probably took a Herculean effort to stop the dying, but by the looks of things they eventually succeeded.

    Tree register

    United States

    United Kingdom

    Australia

    • Bec in Coleraine, VICTORIA
    • Hayden in Winslow, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
    • Neville in Tea Tree Gully, SA
    • Sarah in GLENAROUA, VICTORIA

    New Zealand

    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2018 season

    • May  2018  - tree owned by Chris in Bridgend, United Kingdom

    2017 season

    • 29th November  2017  - tree owned by Bec in Coleraine, Australia
    • 19th October  2017  - tree owned by Neville in Tea Tree Gully, Australia

    2015 season

    • 8th October  2015  - tree owned by Neville in Tea Tree Gully, Australia

    2014 season

    • 12th May  2014  - tree owned by Mark in Leyburn, United Kingdom
    • 26th April  2014  - tree owned by vickystevens@hotmail.com in Banbury, United Kingdom

    2012 season

    • 3rd May  2012  - tree owned by Keith in Lambourn, United Kingdom
    • April  2012  - tree owned by vickystevens@hotmail.com in Banbury, United Kingdom
    • January  2012  - tree owned by Linley in Feilding, New Zealand

    2011 season

    • 21st April  2011  - tree owned by Keith in Lambourn, United Kingdom

    2010 season

    • 31st April  2010  - tree owned by Keith in Lambourn, United Kingdom

    2009 season

    • 4th May  2009  - tree owned by Keith in Lambourn, United Kingdom

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


    Harvest records for this variety

    2018 season

    • September  2018  - tree owned by Chris in Bridgend, United Kingdom
    • July  2018  - tree owned by e in OXFORD, United States

    2015 season

    • 4th week January  2015  - tree owned by Neville in Tea Tree Gully, Australia

    2013 season

    2012 season

    • 1st week October  2012  - tree owned by vickystevens@hotmail.com in Banbury, United Kingdom
    • 3rd week March  2012  - tree owned by Linley in Feilding, New Zealand

    2011 season

    • 2nd week September  2011  - tree owned by Keith in Lambourn, United Kingdom

    2010 season

    • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by Keith in Lambourn, United Kingdom

    2009 season

    • 1st week October  2009  - tree owned by Keith in Lambourn, United Kingdom

    Origins

    • Species: Malus domestica
    • Parentage: Unknown
    • Introduced: 1600s early

    Using

    • Picking season: Late
    • Cropping: Good
    • Keeping (of fruit): 1-2 months
    • Flavor style (apples): Sharper
    • Food uses: Culinary
    • Food uses: Traditional cooker
    • Food uses: Juice
    • Cooking result: Textured puree

    Growing

    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
    • Flowering group: 3
    • Ploidy: Triploid
    • Growth habit: Spreading / Flat-topped
    • Bearing regularity: Regular

    Climate

    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cold (< 20C / 67F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)

    Identification

    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Period of origin: 1600 - 1649
    • Flower colour: White
    • Leaf colour: Green

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Catshead apple trees for sale:

    • Keepers Nursery
      United Kingdom  More >>

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Catshead:

    United Kingdom


    Australia




    References

    • Apples of England (1948)
      Author: Taylor

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