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

Saturn apple


Saturn was introduced in 1997 by the famous East Malling Research Station in Kent, England. As such it reflects the "state of the art" in the development of new apple varieties in the UK.

Saturn is a medium-sized apple, smooth, rounded and with a lime green skin, largely covered in a deep red flush. The appearance is perhaps not quite up to the standard of some other modern varieties, but the flavour is particularly good. It is sweet but with a dollop of juicy acidity, and the sweetness has a good "apple" presence, rather than being sugary-sweet. It is firm to the bite, but the flesh snaps cleanly, and is very juicy. In short, a very appealing apple which will not disappoint.

Disease resistance is an increasingly important attribute for modern apple developers, as growers seek to reduce the amount of pesticides used in their orchards.  The challenge is to come up with an apple which has the flavour modern consumers want, is easy and productive to grow, and yet has none of the undesirable side-effects often found in experimental varieties bred exclusively for disease resistance.  Saturn is a typical example of this development process, being a cross between an un-named scab and disease resistant variety (PRI 1235) and a sport of Golden Delicious (Starkspur Golden Delicious).  We understand the un-named hybrid is distantly related to Jonathan, a high-quality American apple.

Note that many authorities incorrectly state that Saturn is related to Falstaff and Cox's Orange Pippin.

Although aimed at commercial and organic growers, Saturn could have promise as a garden variety, since the built-in disease resistance makes it very suitable for the "un-treated" regime favoured by many gardeners.

It is interesting to compare Saturn with Meridian, another modern variety from East Malling Research Station.  We think Saturn has marginally more depth to it than Meridian - but these are both nice apples.



Saturn identification photos from official fruit collections

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Visitor reviews

  • 14 Oct 2012  Jane Wells,  SUFFOLK, United Kingdom
    I planted a cordon apple Saturn two years ago. Last year it produce 15 good sized fruit. This year the yield was at least 30. The tree is only 6ft tall and was laden with fruit. (I am training it over an arch into my veg garden.) The fruit were all perfect and taste fantastic - crisp, sweet but not too sweet and beautiful to look at. A brilliant and productive variety - I shall plant more. 5/5
  • 09 Aug 2011  Elly.,  United Kingdom
    just bought a saturn tastes sharp with a hint of sweetness overall very pleased with its flavour
  • 05 Nov 2008  David Lacey,  DERBY DERBYSHIRE ENGLAND, United Kingdom
    i have purchased one of these trees having read a little about it i think it will be ideal for my small garden i want desease resistance above all else
  • 25 Sep 2008  Nigel,  CAMBRIDGESHIRE, United Kingdom
    We have two Saturn - one bush and one cordon. We bought them because we like the idea of "organic" growing and try to avoid spraying. The claims of strong disease resistance and a number of organic references to this apple were very appealing. Both of our Saturn are only a few years old, but this year - admittedly a notoriously wet year - their resistance to scab appears to have failed, with considerable numbers of tatty leaves, brown patches and blistering typical of scab. The presumed scab damage to Saturn was far worse than any of the "old-fashioned" varietes that I grow. In view of their scab-resistance failing when it was most needed, I am considering removing or re-grafting my Saturns, although their good resistance to mildew (which is usually more troubling than scab for me) may grant them a reprieve. Next year, I may take some of mine to an "apple day", to confirm that what I have is Saturn - and to confirm that I haven't been supplied with some other variety by accident. The fruits look attractive on the tree - being mostly reddish in colour - just like the picture shown above. The flesh is medium-to-slightly soft (easy-biting but not mushy might be a better term). They are fairly sweet and juicy, with some apple flavour. Had it not been for the scab problems that they should have largely resisted (assuming that they really were Saturn), they would have made very "easy-eating" apples that most people would find palatable. Regards, Nigel

Tree register

United Kingdom

Switzerland

Spring blossom records for this variety

2011 season

  • April  2011  - tree owned by Mrs Che in Bingley, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • 28th April  2010  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 15th April  2010  - tree owned by Peter in Haxton Salisbury, United Kingdom

2009 season

  • 19th April  2009  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom

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


Harvest records for this variety

2016 season

  • October  2016  - tree owned by Jenny in Llanfairfechan, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • 3rd week October  2010  - tree owned by Peter in Haxton Salisbury, United Kingdom

2009 season

  • September  2009  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom

Origins

  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Starkspur Golden Delicious x scab resistant
  • Originates from: England, United Kingdom
  • Introduced: 1980
  • Developed by: Dr Frank Alston
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1055
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1997-023

Using

  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Uses: Juice
  • Flavour quality: Good
  • Flavour style: Sweeter
  • Harvest period: Mid season early August
  • Use / keeping: 1 week

Growing

  • Cropping: Heavy
  • Flowering period: Mid season
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average growth
  • Gardening skill: Very easy
  • Precocity: Precocious
  • Attractive features: Attractive fruit
  • General disease resistance: Good

Climate

  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates

Parents and other ancestors of this variety


Diseases

  • Scab  - Very resistant
  • Mildew  - Some resistance


Where to buy fresh fruit

No orchards have registered as growing this variety. If you grow this and want to register please go to our Orchard Registration form.




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