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King of the Pippins apple

King of the Pippins

A popular 19th century apple, very widely grown in Europe at the time, and versatile for culinary and dessert uses.  King of the Pippins is a sharp, firm, juicy apple which sweetens in storage.

If this variety were discovered today it would hardly merit the title "King" of the pippins, or even "Reine" de Reinettes" (queen of the reinettes) as it is called in France.  However back in the late 18th century when it first became known the name was probably more appropriate.

The main attraction of King of the Pippins today is its versatility.  It can be used as a dessert apple but also has many culinary uses.  It keeps its shape when cooked and brings an authentic old-fashioned flavour.  The sweet-sharp juice is also useful for making fresh apple juice and in cider-making.

King of the Pippins apple identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

  • King of the Pippins
  • King of the Pippins
  • King of the Pippins

USDA identification images for King of the Pippins

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.

    Offspring of this variety

    Visitor reviews

    • 02 Jan 2018  Peterborough, United Kingdom
      We moved into a Victorian house 20 years which had an old King of the Pippins in the garden. We've loved the sweet tartness of these wonderful apples which keep until April or May in our cool garage.
    • 23 Oct 2015  MASSACHUSETTS, United States
      Reine de Reinettes ranks among the top five apples I have tasted: fine grained texture, very complex flavors. Stunner. It ripens in October in Northern New England and may be different from King of the Pippins, which looks and tastes similar but ripens in September here.
    • 13 Oct 2013  Belgium
      My wife had the great idea to bake a tarte Tatin today. I had a look at what the best apple would be to use for that. I read on wikipedia that is originally was made with two apple varieties: Reine des Reinettes and Calville. I have both in my garden, and we used the Reine des Reinettes. The result was top! Really delicious. The taste is really good, while the apple pieces keep their shape. As mentioned by others, it is a really easy tree to grow as well, and it is very productive.
    • 24 Mar 2013  REDDING, United States
      we have tasted this apple before, do you know where we can possibly order one?Thanks, Yvonne
    • 18 Mar 2013  France
      It's a lovely apple tree to grow in your garden. Off the tree the fruit is nicer than all the new apples off the shelves! Greta for cooking too!
    • 10 Jan 2012  GLOUCESTERSHIRE, United Kingdom
      Linda, if you are in South Carolina there are answers to your prayers in the adjoining state. Ron and Suzanne Joyner have an orchard at Big Horse Creek Farm, in Ashe County NC. They have this variety there, I know, and graft trees to order. They are really helpful and friendly, true apple lovers with a wonderful wide knowledge. They will help you for sure.
    • 08 Sep 2011  DERBYSHIRE, United Kingdom
      I have a 6 year old cordon and I would recommend this apple very productive each year (you have to thin out alot as a cordon) medium large, very clean fruit with a good taste(medium sweet with acid tinge - but not really King of anything) and pleasing crunch, try to ripen as long on tree gets a yellow hint to the green?
    • 14 Jun 2011  SOUTH CAROLINA, United States
      I'm actually from England, but now live in SC, USA. We used to have a King of the Pippin apple tree in our garden back in Thetford, Norfolk, England, which had the best tasting apples I've ever tasted. I wondered if it would be possible to grow one of these trees in South Carolina, USA, and if so, if you knew where I might purchase one to plant and grow her, please? They are fantastic little apples! Thanks, Linda
    • 20 Oct 2008  HERTS, United Kingdom
      This apple tree has been in our garden for about 60 years or more. We get a good crop every two years. The flavour is superb and we love it for its juicy taste. It spoils us for other apples!

    Tree register

    United States

    United Kingdom






    • Hayden in Winslow, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2022 season

    • 4th May  2022  - tree owned by Cheuk in Amsterdam, Netherlands

    2018 season

    • 8th May  2018  - tree owned by Bill in Smeeton Westerby, United Kingdom

    2017 season

    • 4th May  2017  - tree owned by Rosalind in Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

    2016 season

    • 16th May  2016  - tree owned by Bill in Smeeton Westerby, United Kingdom

    2015 season

    • 11th May  2015  - tree owned by Bill in Smeeton Westerby, United Kingdom

    2011 season

    • 19th April  2011  - tree owned by John in Malvern, United Kingdom
    • March  2011  - tree owned by John in New Market, United States

    2010 season

    • 10th May  2010  - tree owned by Sandy in St Albans, United Kingdom

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

    Harvest records for this variety

    2017 season

    • 1st week October  2017  - tree owned by Dorothy in Peterborough, United Kingdom
    • October  2017  - tree owned by Rosalind in Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

    2016 season

    • 1st week October  2016  - tree owned by Bill in Smeeton Westerby, United Kingdom

    2015 season

    • 1st week October  2015  - tree owned by Bill in Smeeton Westerby, United Kingdom

    2010 season

    • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by John in Malvern, United Kingdom


    • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
    • Parentage: Unknown
    • Originates from: France
    • Introduced: 1770s
    • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1957-218


    • Awards: RHS AGM (current)
    • Country of origin: France
    • Period of origin: 1800 - 1849
    • Fruit colour: Orange flush
    • Flower colour: Pink - light
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Popularity: Rarely grown
    • Annual cycle: Deciduous


    • Picking season: Late
    • Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
    • Flavour quality: Good
    • Flavour style (apples): Sweet/Sharp
    • Cooking result: Keeps shape
    • Cropping: Good
    • Food uses: Eating fresh
    • Food uses: Culinary
    • Food uses: Juice
    • Food uses: Hard cider
    • Food uses: Dual purpose
    • Picking period: early October
    • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


    • Gardening skill: Average
    • Flowering group: 4
    • Pollinating others: Average
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Vigour: Slightly small
    • Bearing regularity: Regular
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Self-fertility: Partially self-fertile


    • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
    • Cold hardiness (RHS): H6 (to -20C)

    Other qualities

    • Disease resistance: Average
    • Cedar apple rust: Some resistance
    • Scab (Apple and Pear): Some susceptibility

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer King of the Pippins apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow King of the Pippins:

    United States

    United Kingdom



    • Apples of England (1948)
      Author: Taylor

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