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

King David apple

King David is one of the lesser-known apples that were promoted by the famous Stark Brothers nursery at the end of the 19th century.  The tree was discovered as a chance seedling and the parentage is not clear but most authorities agree that Jonathan is one of the parents, and it has the aromatic qualities associated with that variety.  The other parent is believed to be Winesap or Arkansas Black, and visually it has a resemblance to the latter.

King David is well-suited to the warmer southern states, and has good resistance to fireblight, a bacterial disease which is endemic to the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

King David identification images

USDA identification images for King David

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.


  • Year: 1928

  • Year: 1931

  • Year: 1913

  • Year: 1913

  • Year: 1927

  • Year: 1906

  • Year: 1909

  • Year: 1915

  • Year: 1909

  • Year: 1915

  • Year: 1929

Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Parents and other ancestors of this variety

  • Jonathan (parent)
  • Winesap (parent) - Probable parent (or Arkansas Black, one of its offspring)

See also


Visitor reviews

  • 21 Oct 2017  OR, United States
    I am delighted to have finally found the name of this apple, which I first tasted from Black Diamond Orchards in Ithica, NY many years ago, but had forgotten the name of. Got one recently at a market here in Portland OR and instantly recognized it on first bite. Visually it's like a large AK Black, but much more aromatic and a bit sharper in acid. In my opinion, a more complex balance than any of its parents. What makes this variety most unique to me though is the heady, aromatic ("foxy") flavor of Muscat grape on the finish. I've never tasted that in an apple before or since. It's like those Japanese gummies. For that reason alone this is getting a place in my small garden. I can only imagine the cider and preserves this would make.
  • 23 Oct 2015  CA, United States
    We planted a King David approximately 4 years ago and grew it espalier style on my fence, which runs north to south. This year we had approximately 30 apples with each weighing approximately 1lb. The taste is great and no insects have hurt the apples, even without any pesticide spraying. It is sweet and spicy and our favorite apple.
  • 01 Oct 2015  MISSOURI, United States
    I went to Bucks orchard last year and he told me he only had two trees of King David apples,so I bought peck and loved them!
  • 24 Sep 2015  MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA, United States
    My favorite of the 50+ varieties I grow. Intense sweet/tart flavor, fair keeper, but its most remarkable charactieristic is the flavor it contributes to cider. More of the apple flavor persists through fermentation than with any other apple I've tried, including many English and French cider cultivars. It also contributes a nice soft astringency, so apparently it develops tannins in my cool-summer climate. Wonderful!
  • 07 Sep 2015  NW VA, United States
    Got first good crop this year on m111, perhaps, 50lbs - took about 7 rs. Wonderful winesappy intense sweet tart taste, firm white flesh, most beautiful red apples when fully ripe.
  • 04 Jun 2015  WA / USA, United States
    Have six King Davids, all producing perfectly. Taste is the finest blend of sweet and sour in the Universe. Bought 4 for a backpack trip ten years ago and consumed all four in 20 minutes. Went and bought trees.
  • 12 Jul 2014  NC, United States
    I planted this tree to honor my collies who passed away 7 years ago. It had not produced much, but after extream cold this spring, much to my surprise, it is full. Sadie loved apples, and I would sit on my porch and cut 3 apples up and she would eat every bite. Sitting on the porch now and looking at the tree and missing Sadie and Shadow.
  • 25 Jan 2014  United States
    Tasted King David as a child in an orchard in Bullitt County, KY and loved it.
  • 17 Sep 2013  WISCONSIN, United States
    I bought two of these trees 9 years ago. One was girdled by wildlife during the winter and the one that remains hasn't really done much. I see I'm on the edge of the zones for it really and we can get late frosts. This year my other trees are prolific but this tree has nothing but an abundance of sucker branches. I'm hoping to make some adjustments to get it producing.
  • 19 Oct 2011  WASHINGTON, United States
    Went to Feil Pioneer Fruit Stand just north of Wenatchee last Saturday and bought some of these apples - enough for us to try and for some other people. Unbelievable flavors: rich, sweet, spicy, and my wife likens it to caramel, too. Yep, want this growing out back.
  • 19 Sep 2011  WASHINGTON, United States
    The article I'd mentioned earlier sounded so compelling, and I see records from Maine that indicate King David might do fine here, so I hope to graft some scions onto some root stock already in the ground spring of '12 and see how they do. Will keep you posted.
  • 31 Aug 2011  NW VA, United States
    Hi Dave - (was just in your beautiful state last week!) My tree is not flowering yet (maybe 3 yrs old?), but getting quite large. Hopefully flowers next year.
  • 10 Aug 2011  WASHINGTON, United States
    Patrick: I live in Spokane, WA, zone 5-6 and am considering this cv. When does your tree bloom? This site states it blooms in group 3, in The Best Apples To Buy And Grow it is said to bloom late, contemporaneous with Arkansas Black, which I would put at group 5 or 6. Thanks, Dave Liezen
  • 13 Jan 2011  NW VA, United States
    This is an excellent tasting and beautiful apple, with winesap overtones. I have one growing and it seems to be very grower friendly and disease resistant so far (fireblight can be an issue here).

Tree register

United States

Portugal

Canada

Australia

  • Hayden in Winslow, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
  • Leanne in Crabtree, TAS

Spring blossom records for this variety

2020 season

  • 26th April  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2019 season

  • 2nd May  2019  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2018 season

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

2017 season

  • April  2017  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

2016 season

  • July  2016  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

2012 season

  • 9th May  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States
  • 7th May  2012  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States
  • 25th March  2012  - tree owned by Mark in Harvest, United States

2011 season

  • May  2011  - tree owned by Kris in Holden, United States
  • 4th April  2011  - tree owned by Mark in Harvest, United States

2010 season

  • May  2010  - tree owned by Kris in Holden, United States
  • 11th April  2010  - tree owned by Mark in Harvest, United States

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


Harvest records for this variety

2020 season

  • 4th week October  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2019 season

  • 4th week October  2019  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States
  • 2nd week October  2019  - tree owned by Jon in Shaw Island, United States

2018 season

  • 4th week October  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2017 season

  • October  2017  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

2016 season

  • November  2016  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

2015 season

  • October  2015  - tree owned by Roger in Madison Heights, United States

2011 season

  • 2nd week September  2011  - tree owned by Kris in Holden, United States
  • 4th week August  2011  - tree owned by Mark in Harvest, United States

2010 season

  • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by Kris in Holden, United States
  • 2nd week September  2010  - tree owned by Mark in Harvest, United States

Origins

  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Jonathan and Winesap or Arkansas Black
  • Introduced: 1893

Using

  • Picking season: Very late
  • Cropping: Heavy
  • Keeping (of fruit): 1-2 months
  • Flavor style (apples): Sweet/Sharp
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Food uses: Culinary
  • Food uses: Juice
  • Food uses: Hard cider

Growing

  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Bearing regularity: Regular
  • Organic culture: Suitable

Climate

  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (4) -30F / -34C
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (5) -20F / -29C
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (6) -10F / -23C
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (7) 0F / -18C
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (8) 10F / -12C
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Hot (>30C / 86F)

Identification

  • Country of origin: United States
  • Period of origin: 1850 - 1899
  • Fruit colour: Crimson

Where to buy fresh fruit

The following orchards grow King David:

United States


Australia





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