Dorsett Golden was raised by Mrs Dorsett in The Bahamas in the 1950s. It is one of a very small group of apple varieties that can flourish in tropical climates, because of its exceptionally low chilling requirement of less than 300 hours. Researchers at the University of Florida have even observed Dorsett Golden growing as an evergreen, i.e. with no dormant period although it does not fruit properly when this happens.
Dorsett Golden flowers in southern Calfornia in January and late February in Florida, far ahead of most varieties, so pollination is a potential issue. It is often paired with another low-chill variety, Anna which is also descended from Golden Delicious. However note that the flowering times may not overlap in all areas - Anna usually flowers earlier.
The apples ripen late June / early July in southern California. Like most early season varieties the apples do not keep, however the flesh is lightly crisp and with a good flavor - far better than might be expected from an early season hot climate apple. Flavor is apparently better in apples which are slightly shaded (the reverse of what is normally recommended for cool climate apples).
Dorsett Golden trees are extremely precocious and will start fruiting in their second year.
Whilst there is no disputing that this variety was raised in The Bahamas as a chance seedling, some authorities have questioned whether it is a seedling of Golden Delicious, suggesting it may instead be from an Israeli breeding programme at the Ein Shemer kibbutz. However that programme also featured Golden Delicious, so the obvious similarity with Golden Delicious is probably explained by a close relationship either as a parent or grandparent.
We are grateful to Kevin Hauser for information and photos of this variety.
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.
The following orchards grow Dorsett Golden:
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