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

Duchess of Oldenburg apple

Duchess of Oldenburg is a very attractive early-season apple, originating from Russia in the early 18th century.  It is primarily used as a cooking apple.

As might be expected, Duchess of Oldenburg is a very hardy apple tree.  Although not a commercial variety, it became popular across northern Europe and was introduced to North America in the early 19th century.

Duchess of Oldenburg is possibly an ancestor of the well-known Northern Spy apple of North America.

Duchess of Oldenburg identification photos

UK National Fruit Collection
UK National Fruit Collection
©Crown Copyright more >

  • Duchess of Oldenburg
    Copyright: Orange Pippin

Visitor reviews

  • 16 Apr 2021  Tony,  NEW YORK, United States
    Great for cooking, not fresh eating. Extremely tart, with very little sweetness, and little juice. A soft, very early apple that only keeps a few weeks in cold storage, or literally just a few days at room temp. They are like no other apple I’ve ever tried, and have been growing them for 15 years. Tree is hearty, and has large crops every year. I disagree with others on a few points, as there might possibly be differences between individual trees, but there is no way these can be eaten fresh. They are simply too tart with very little sweetness, and soft texture. They are fantastic for drying, baking, and pies/sauces. The apple is soft, and mealy a day or two after ripe, and some report that they turn to mush in a pie, but I have had the opposite experience. Even though they are soft, they retain their shape and definition quite well in a pie, and their tart flavor profile in this usage is stunning. They are highly recommended, as long as you careful picking them within the right harvest window.
  • 07 Jun 2019  Steven Holman,  MI, United States
    I have 2 Duchess trees in my home orchard..This is one apple that if picked before it is ripe wouldn't be good for fresh eating..Allow it to fully ripen before fresh eating..Large apples every year on my trees..Good for fresh eating and excellent for cooking..
  • 05 Aug 2014  Drew,  BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada
    Our tree is quite old - our guess is it is at least 80+ years old. It produces upwards of 600+ pounds in a good year and 300+ pounds in a dry Summer. The apples are excellent for eating and apple sauce, as they break down too readily in pies.
  • 06 Aug 2013  Stephanie,  United States
    We harvested 7-10 bushels of Duchess. I would use one word to describe the apple: Tart. I usually like tart apples, but Duchess is simply too tart.
  • 17 Jun 2012  Charley,  WA, SPOKANE COUNTY, United States
    This is a good keeper in cold storage. Ours was good for cooking up until March this year 2012. When I use it for pie or apple crisp I like to add a little lime juice for tartness. Overall mild sweet taste.

Tree register

United States


New Zealand


Spring blossom records for this variety

2014 season

  • 15th May  2014  - tree owned by Thomas in Cottage Grove, United States

2012 season

  • 9th May  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States

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

Harvest records for this variety

2018 season

  • 1st week September  2018  - tree owned by Esther in Saranac Lake, United States

2016 season

  • 4th week August  2016  - tree owned by Barbara in Poulsbo, United States

2012 season

  • September  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Introduced: 18th century
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1588


  • Picking season: Early
  • Cropping: Good
  • Keeping (of fruit): 1 week
  • Flavor style (apples): Sharper
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Food uses: Culinary
  • Food uses: Traditional cooker
  • Cooking result: Puree
  • Discoloration of fruit: Oxidising


  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Flowering group: 2
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Bearing regularity: Regular


  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (4) -30F / -34C
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cold (< 20C / 67F)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)


  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Period of origin: 1750 - 1799

Where to buy trees

The following tree nurseries offer Duchess of Oldenburg apple trees for sale:

Where to buy fresh fruit

United States



  • Apples of England (1948)
    Author: Taylor

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