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

Cornish Gilliflower apple

Cornish Gilliflower is probably the best and most widely-grown of the apple varieties originating from Cornwall.  It has all the attributes of the classic Victorian English apple - notably a sweet aromatic flavour with perfumed overtones and an attractive flushed appearance.  It is acknowledged as one of the best-flavoured English apples.

It is also a relatively good keeper, and can be eaten well into the new year.

The Victorian author Hogg explained the origin of the word "gilliflower" or "gillyflower" as being a corruption of the French word "girofle" signifying clove - and the blossom of this variety has a clove-like scent.

Hogg also recommends growing this variety as an espalier on dwarf rootstock - although modern authorities would not recommend this style because Cornish Gilliflower bears apples on the tips of its branches, making it unsuitable for training in this way.

Cornish Gilliflower identification photos

UK National Fruit Collection
UK National Fruit Collection
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  • Copyright: Orange Pippin

Visitor reviews

  • 13 Oct 2016  Dan Kissane,  Ireland
    Just tasted my first apple off my Cornish Gilliflower. Wow! I've marked it down to cut lots of scion wood this winter with the aim of top-working a couple of trees over to this variety. A great apple - only downside is - at least in my case - it was a long time (seven years) coming into bearing. Worth the wait though - the flavour is outstanding.
  • 15 Nov 2013  Jane,  SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom
    We have a Cornish Gillyflower although it looks more russety than in the picture - not a hint of red. Very erratic and biennial bearer, though very delicious apples. They may be keepers but are gorgeous straight off the tree, so we'll probably never know.

Tree register

United States

United Kingdom




  • Hayden in Winslow, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Spring blossom records for this variety

2019 season

  • 21st April  2019  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2018 season

  • 30th May  2018  - tree owned by Jim in Mequon, United States
  • 27th April  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2017 season

  • May  2017  - tree owned by Jim in Mequon, United States
  • 15th April  2017  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2016 season

  • 14th April  2016  - tree owned by Kenneth in Topeka, United States

2012 season

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

Harvest records for this variety

2011 season

  • 4th week August  2011  - tree owned by Jan in Castel D'Aiano, Italy


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Originates from: Truro, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
  • Introduced: 1813
  • Developed by: Discovered by Sir Christopher Hawkins
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1100
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1947-116


  • Fruit colour: Red / Green
  • Bultitude apple group: 7. Flushed / striped, some russeting, sweet


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


  • Flowering period: Mid-Late season
  • Flowering group: 4
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Slightly large
  • Fruit bearing: Tip-bearer
  • General disease resistance: Average


  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates

Where to buy trees

The following fruit tree nurseries offer Cornish Gilliflower apple trees for sale:

Where to buy fresh fruit

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  • Apples of England (1948)
    Author: Taylor

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