Red Prince was discovered growing as a chance seedling in a commercial orchard near Weert in the Netherlands, not far from the border with Germany, in 1994. It is also widely known as Red Jonaprince. As the name suggests, it is almost entirely red at the time of harvest.
It appears to be a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious varieties, both of which were being grown in the area. This makes it a sibling of Jonagold, which shares the same parentage.
Some authorities believe it is a natural sport mutation of Jonagold rather than a seedling. However since it was discovered as a tree, rather than as a mutated branch of an existing tree, it seems more likely to be a true seedling. Another factor suggesting it is a seedling is that it ripens several weeks earlier than Jonagold, which would be unusual for a sport mutation.
Red Prince is grown commercially in Ontario, Canada. It is marketed as a winter apple, since it benefits from a time in storage before eating.
More information about the origins of Red Prince can be found on the Global Fruit website.
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 orchards grow Red Prince:
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