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.
Although never really a commercial variety, it was quite widely grown across northern Europe in the 19th century. It was imported to the USA in 1835 by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and its excellent cold hardiness made it a popular variety in the northern states.
From the 1920s Duchess of Oldenburg became an early mainstay of the University of Minnesota's (UMN) long-running and very successful cold-hardy apple breeding program. The true extent of its role was not apparent because of errors in written records of parentage, but recent DNA testing by Luby, Howard, Tillman and Bedford at UMN, found that Duchess of Oldenburg was present in the ancestry of almost every apple variety ever developed at UMN.
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 tree nurseries offer Duchess of Oldenburg apple trees for sale:
The following orchards grow Duchess of Oldenburg:
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