Nonpareil is one of the oldest of all apple varieties. The Victorian pomologist Robert Hogg believed it came from France to England in the 16th century, and noted that its aromatic qualities were apparently better appreciated in England than in the land of its birth. Hogg noted that Nonpareil grew best in the south of England (closest to France), and the flavour was less successful when grown in the north of England.
Nonpareil belongs to a small group of apples which have the flavour of pear-drops. This flavour component is fairly unusual, but is also found in one of Nonpareil's probable descendants, Ashmead's Kernel.
Visually, Nonpareil's dull russet colouring is not that attractive - the appeal of this apple is its unique strong pear-drop flavour.
USDA identification images for Nonpareil
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
- 24 Dec 2011 Eric NorstogOREGON, United StatesI have a tree that was sold to me as a Ross Nonpareil. This tree has never done much as far as growth or cropping, but it produces a few small apples every year. The apples have a tough, rough, russeted skin, flesh like a weak sponge, and modest juice. However, one in five fruits has an ambrosial aftertaste, a combination of honey and pear, that is unlike any other apple. The majority of fruits are very acid with little redeeming value - "spitters". This winter I am heavily liming my orchard, mulching, and fertilizing with potassium, magnesium., sulfur, and nitrogen. We shall see whether this particular tree is happier next season.
- 01 Feb 2011 Nancy SmithANNAPOLIS, CanadaWe use Non Pareil from the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens (Nova Scotia, Canada) as a key ingredient in sweet cider. We call it the ugly apple. It is not a great eating apple, and does not appear juicy, but has an incredible amount of juice.
- J. M. in Lima, Twp., MI
Spring blossom records for this variety
Harvest records for this variety
- 2nd week October 2010 - tree owned by Clare in Congleton, United Kingdom
- Species: Malus domestica - Apple
- Parentage: Unknown
- Originates from: France
- Introduced: 16th century
- UK National Fruit Collection accession: 2000-072
- Country of origin: France
- Picking season: Late
- Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
- Flavour quality: Very good
- Cropping: Good
- Food uses: Eating fresh
- Food uses: Juice
- Flavour style (apples): Pear drop
- Vigour: Average vigour
- Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
- Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
Where to buy fresh fruit
The following orchards grow Nonpareil:
- Apples of England (1948)