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

Lord Derby apple

Lord Derby

Lord Derby is a traditional large English cooking apple, ripening in the mid-season - early September.  It remains a popular apple variety in English gardens, and is a good choice if you are looking for an apple tree for the garden as an alternative to Bramley which can be used in the period from September to November.

Lord Derby is quite easy to identify, on account of its large size, bright green colours and ribbed shape.  The Victorian author Hogg rates it as an "excellent culinary apple".  The flavour is nicely acidic if picked young, but milder if picked when fully ripe (at which point the skin develops a more yellow hue).  Like many Victorian cooking apples, it has naturally good disease resistance.

Lord Derby apple identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

  • Lord Derby
  • Lord Derby

USDA identification images for Lord Derby

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.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety

    Visitor reviews

    • 21 Aug 2022 
      Definitely a cooker, and definitely not bland! Large apples that hug the branch and crop late. Skin turns very waxy over winter, and mine keep until at least February in a cool garage in the North of England.
    • 01 Oct 2020  ABERDEENSHIRE, United Kingdom
      Agree with the grower in Gloucestershire that this apple, though prolific, seems to be completely tasteless. Perhaps I am too far north for it to do well.
    • 21 Sep 2016  BRIDGEND, WALES, United Kingdom
      I've had a Lord Derby apple from a pup!!!!! Don't agree with the comments on taste. It is very good when baked, and used for apple tart. Because of the short keeping time I usually core peel chop and freeze it. However, I find that keeping some in the refrigerator helps to keep it longer.
    • 16 Sep 2016  DORSET, United States
      We inherited a large old tree 10 years ago which was identified as Lord Derby at an apple day in Cumbria. After 3 years of professional pruning it has proved well worth saving. Here it breaks down well on cooking and is very good in cakes. Brown rot and mice mean it only lasts until January. Mice leave alone any wrapped in news paper.
    • 21 Oct 2012  CARMARTHENSHIRE, United Kingdom
      A large old apple tree (70 to 80 years or more)in our garden has been identified at the Apple Day festival at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales as the variety 'Lord Derby'. It does cook very well and as long as plentty of sugar is added has good flavour when cooked. It also crops very well, and 2011 was an exceptionally bumper year, but even in this wet year we have had a reasoanble crop it usually stores for 3 to 4 months in the garden shed provided the mice don't cause too much damage. It does soon turn yellow but still seems OK when stewed.
    • 27 Nov 2011  CHESHIRE, United Kingdom
      I think this is the variety I have and I agree that it is quite a bland taste and doesn't fall well when cooked. However, it is a prolific fruiter and I have trained it to keep it compact. Going to use this year's crop with the addition of some Bramleys to make cider.
    • 13 Nov 2010  GLOS., United Kingdom
      We inherited an apple that has been identified as Lord Derby and is certainly large and green, turnng yellowish when ripe. Unfortunately, we find it virtually tasteless whether raw or cooked, and it does not form any kind of puree when cooked, but remains in slices. Any suggestions?

    Tree register

    United Kingdom


    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2012 season

    • 20th May  2012  - tree owned by Nickkk in Oldham, United Kingdom

    2011 season

    • 26th May  2011  - tree owned by Mrs Di in , United Kingdom
    • May  2011  - tree owned by Philip in Andover, United Kingdom

    2010 season

    • 13th May  2010  - tree owned by Clifford in Doncaster, United Kingdom

    2009 season

    • 4th April  2009  - tree owned by Harry in Cobham, United Kingdom

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    Harvest records for this variety

    2016 season

    • 3rd week October  2016  - tree owned by Nigel in Ryton Dorrington Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

    2015 season

    • 2nd week October  2015  - tree owned by Peter in Hexham, United Kingdom

    2014 season

    • 2nd week September  2014  - tree owned by Ben in Peterborough, United Kingdom

    2011 season

    • 2nd week November  2011  - tree owned by Mrs Di in , United Kingdom
    • 1st week November  2011  - tree owned by Philip in Andover, United Kingdom
    • 4th week August  2011  - tree owned by Anthony in Cambridge, United Kingdom

    2010 season

    • 1st week October  2010  - tree owned by Kevin in Duleek, Ireland

    2009 season

    • 2nd week September  2009  - tree owned by Harry in Cobham, United Kingdom


    • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
    • Originates from: Cheshire, United Kingdom
    • Introduced: 19th century
    • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1978-300


    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Period of origin: 1850 - 1899
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Annual cycle: Deciduous


    • Picking season: Late
    • Keeping (of fruit): 1-2 months
    • Flavour quality: Very good
    • Flavour style (apples): Sharper
    • Cooking result: Textured puree
    • Discoloration of fruit: Oxidising
    • Cropping: Good
    • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
    • Food uses: Culinary
    • Food uses: Juice
    • Food uses: Traditional cooker
    • Picking period: early September
    • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


    • Gardening skill: Beginner
    • Flowering group: 4
    • Pollinating others: Average
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Vigour: Vigorous
    • Bearing regularity: Regular
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile


    • Frost resistance of blossom: Good resistance
    • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
    • Climate suitability: Mild damp climates
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cold (< 20C / 67F)

    Other qualities

    • Disease resistance: Good
    • Scab (Apple and Pear): Very resistant
    • Brown rot: Very susceptible

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Lord Derby apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Lord Derby:

    United Kingdom


    • Fruit Expert
      Author: Hessayon

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