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

Worcester Pearmain apple

Worcester Pearmain

Worcester Pearmain is an early season English apple, originating from Worcester in the 1870s.

Worcester Pearmain has been a relatively popular apple from the start, and is still grown commercially on a small scale in England.  The apples come into season a few weeks after Discovery, and it is relatively easy to find for a short period in mid-September in supermarkets and farmers markets.

Worcester Pearmain's main claim to fame is the strawberry flavour, although the intensity of this is quite variable.  As with any early variety, the flavour is very dependent on the weather during the short period that the apples ripen.  The parentage of Worcester Pearmain is unknown but a likely candidate is Devonshire Quarrenden - which also has the strawberry flavour.

Although it cannot  be regarded as being in the first rank of apple varieties, Worcester Pearmain has been used as the basis for a surprisingly large number of breeding programmes.  The early ripening period and the strawberry flavour are the main reasons for this, with growers hoping to introduce this dimension into new varieties.  The intense red/crimson flush is another commercially valuable characteristic.  It has to be said that many of these varieties are a considerable improvement over Worcester Pearmain.  Discovery is perhaps the most well-known, but Elton Beauty, Katy, Jester, and Lord Lambourne all inherit the strawberry flavour to some extent.

Worcester Pearmain makes a good apple tree for the garden, and the flavour really benefits if the apples are left on the tree as long as possible.  However, some of its offspring are also good varieties for the garden - Katy for example.

Worcester Pearmain apple identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

  • Worcester Pearmain
  • Worcester Pearmain
  • Worcester Pearmain
  • Worcester Pearmain
  • Worcester Pearmain
  • Worcester Pearmain

USDA identification images for Worcester Pearmain

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: Worcester Pearmain
  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: Worcester Pearmain

Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Visitor reviews

  • 29 Sep 2022 
    I remember as a young kid scrumping these apples from a small orchard just over my back garden wall. I got caught one day by the owner who said I could have all the apples I wanted but only windfalls. I thanked him, (we were polite in those days) and I never did take an apple from the tree again. These apples were call Worcesters he said. I have never tasted an apple so sweet in my life. They taste a bit like a Cox I think. I live on the Romney Marsh, and up until a couple of years ago could buy these lovely tasting apples at a local greengrocer for a short while. Then they were no more, the man who supplied the greengrocer had died. I wish I could buy these apples again somewhere. We tried to store some a few years ago but they did not keep. If any kind person knows where I could buy some of these I would love to know.
  • 28 Aug 2015  WORCESTER, United Kingdom
    We have a WP in our garden as we speak (end of August) it has shed about 100 pounds of fruit and has so much remaining on the tree that I fear for many of the branches. The fruit is delicious either as an eater or in pies or sponge cakes, also in preserves. Lots of the fruit have a dark spot on them but this only penetrates about 3-4mm into the flesh so is easily removed in cooking preparation. As an eater they have a light sweetness I haven't found in any other apple. We have so many this year we are considering a brew of cider!
  • 27 Oct 2010  PA, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, United States
    I would like to know where to purchase this apple tree for planting, here in Pennsylvania. I believe that this apple variety if cut down the middle has a striata of red going through out; is that correct.. Also, do you have the Red Star Apple [I believe a China import} ?
  • 28 Sep 2010  CAMBRIDGESHIRE, United Kingdom
    The early and mid-season apples are often attacked by "worms"/"maggots" and the like - especially the larger, sweeter, tastier and highly coloured ones. "Worms" and "maggots" are more problematic in mild, dry and calm areas - conditions which assist their life cycle. In cool, wet and windier areas, the tunneling pests may be less troublesome or completely absent since poorer weather will disrupt or slow down their life cycle. Of course, wet and windy areas can bring other problems, such as scab or canker. Worcester Pearmain is claimed by some people to be quite susceptible to wet-weather diseases, but in my experience, although it is not *highly* disease-resistant, it is also not excessively prone to disease either. Worcester Pearmain seems to prefer slightly cooler and duller climates. In my area (warm, dry, sunny, windy), Worcester Pearmain grows better when it is shielded from the midday sun - such as when planted with a wall or larger tree shading its Southern side.
  • 28 Sep 2010  COUNTY (NORTH WEST), Ireland
    Great to read all the comments re the quality of taste etc of 'Worcester Permain' apples and Here I am adding mine . The apple is of outstanding appearance, large and mostly completely crimsion red with very little streaky green and very large. I love apples, home grown Uk types and imported, and none can equal that 'tangy' taste, juicy and sweet...just can't be beaten. I planted our tree about twenty years ago and is now about 15ft tall and it fruits every year. If, I said that the number of apples on the tree this year was in excess of a thousand apples ( in August I counted over 800 wit h lot more Inside the branchs), I would not be exaggerating. I took photos and wish I could add at least one picture here to give proof of both the colour, quanty of apples on the tree and the size. Never had a 'worm' problem...ever DBoyce.
  • 04 Oct 2009  LONDON, United Kingdom
    My grandparents had a Worcester Permain tree in their back garden and I have never tasted better apples. I do remember the worms liked them too, though, so we had to be careful. That said, the tree produced so many apples that discarding those with worms still left us with an abundance to eat. No WPs that I have bought in supermarkets or farmers markets have ever quite matched the flavour intensity of those from my grandparents' back garden. Perhaps this is because they are passed their best once in the shops? I've tried a few of the offspring mentioned here and in each case have found them inferior in flavour and texture. Not to mention aroma! The smell of a fresh Worcester permain is extraordinarily good!
  • 30 Sep 2009  LONDON, United Kingdom
    Wendy, what brought me to this page is I have just eaten 2 poly bags of these most delicious apples. Sold in a generic early season bags from Waitrose, don't know if this is any help to you.
  • 12 Sep 2009  OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom
    I have a prolific cropping Worcester Pearmain tree and the flavour really is second to none! I have found the best way of keeping them is to slice them with the peel intact, add a tablespoon of lemon juice in a bag, shake and freeze. They tend to rot if stored in the usual manner. Will make Apple flans, Apple and almond tarts etc. etc. Also sell them at Farmers Markets.
  • 08 Sep 2009  EDINBURGH, United States
    magic apples third year of ma tree apples are in abundance pick as you eat canny beat it
  • 02 Sep 2009  HALIFAX, WEST YORKSHIRE, United Kingdom
    I agree that this apple is one of the very nicest, if not the nicest, in flavour as well as texture and appearance. Think I last saw it being sold in the eighties - why is it no longer on sale up north where I live? Bring back the Worcester Pearmain, I say.
  • 16 Aug 2009  ILFORD, EAST LONDON/ESSEX, United Kingdom
    I have a Worcester Pearmain in my garden. We have had it for many years. for the past 15 years fruit is disguarded by the tree as all the fruit has holes in it suggesting a wrom problem. it produces a huge amount of fruit, very little if any is suitable for human comsumption. Please help as i would like to bring health to this tree. this is my favourite apple and it pains me not to be able to eat my own produce. Regards
  • 13 Dec 2008  DESCARTES, France
    You do not mention that Worcester Permains have the perfect balance between sweet and acid and keep their crispness for a long time after harvesting. It's curious, but I've eaten literally hundreds of these apples without ever never noticing they tasted of strawberries.
  • 08 Nov 2008  HALLOWELL, MAINE USA, United States
    To Gary in New Jersey who wants a pearmain tree. I just bought some pearmains from Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Maine (midmaine outside Augusta). I am not sure they're on the web, but they might be, and might be able to tell you where to buy them. It's a wonderful apple, although I thought it tasted more like pear! While it may be in season elsewhere in September - October, it seems to be late October - early November here!
  • 12 Oct 2008  OXON, United Kingdom
    This was THE apple for me until I found other varieties. The strawberry flavour from its Devonshire Quarrenden parent (good early apple but biennial) varies as does the intensity of flavour, needs plenty of sun. Goes soft quite quickly in a poor year. Bit prone to desease so not a good choice if space is limited but reasonably upright, neat tree.
  • 06 Oct 2008  NJ, United States
    This apple is so good that it is probably the apple that Satan tempted Eve with - it is the acme of Appledom. The downside is that I now live on the wrong side of the Pond and I am desperate to find someone to sell me a WP tree over in the States. Does anyone here have any leads?
  • 29 Sep 2008  HERTFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom
    My grandmother had a WP tree, which, after her death, my father transplanted. The apples have an aroma and flavour second to none. I agree that they are best eaten a little under-ripe. I have just finished eating 2 WPs from the supermarket - these are ripe and, whilst tasty, just a little soft and do not quite capture the real nature of the WP. I think I'm going to go out and buy a tree!
  • 16 Sep 2008  NORFOLK, United Kingdom
    We have a Worcester apple tree in our garden and I think they're the nicest apples I have eaten. They have a crisp, juicy, sweet (but not too sweet) taste. I've never seen them in shops, I believe this is because they don't keep well. On our tree they're available from late August to late September/early October.
  • 21 Jul 2008  S.W. LONDON, United Kingdom
    R.D. Blackmore may have grown this variety in his nursery, as it is grown locally. I've managed to store this apple in the shed (unless it was the ones I bought!) until the Spring. It does soften and wrinkle. I make sure there's space between each and check, say, weekly, especially at the beginning. It seems to produce a crop every other year. Fruits along the stem. RDB also grew Pears - long green type.
  • 07 May 2008  WORCESTER, United Kingdom
    I have an orchard in which I have several very old trees bearing Pairmain. Beautiful flavoured fruit. I would appreciate it if anyone knew of a market for my fruit as most years much goes to waste - such a shame.
  • 23 Mar 2008  BRISTOL, United Kingdom
    My trees are supposed to be Worcester Pearmain. They often flower from mid-April onwards and are ripe to eat from late July to early September. They do not keep well and are indeed best eaten when slightly underripe. Mine are finished long before October.
  • 13 Jan 2008  ESSEX, United Kingdom
    When I was a lad we had a tree of Worcesters, along with several other varieties, growing in our garden on the outskirts of Birmingham. It is my view that this apple is vastly superior to any other English commercial apple variety in taste, crispness (best eaten slightly underripe when the pips are still white) and texture. Its flavour is quite distinctive and the Discovery, which has a tart flavour in comparison, does not match it. (Only the Cox's Orange Pippin of English varieties can rival it. Unfortunately many so- called Cox's Orange Pippin apples originating from New Zealand lack the Cox flavour and are not true Coxes.) The downside of the Worcester Pearmain is (a) it is available over only a very short season mid-September-mid October of a max 5 weeks. (b) it does not keep. What a shame! I could eat Worcesters all the year round!

Tree register

United States

United Kingdom




New Zealand

Spring blossom records for this variety

2023 season

  • 21st May  2023  - tree owned by Stuart in Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom

2022 season

  • 12th May  2022  - tree owned by Stuart in Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
  • 25th April  2022  - tree owned by Barry in Witney, United Kingdom
  • 24th April  2022  - tree owned by Lee in Tottenham, United Kingdom

2017 season

  • 24th October  2017  - tree owned by Neville in Tea Tree Gully, Australia

2016 season

  • 24th November  2016  - tree owned by Neville in Tea Tree Gully, Australia

2015 season

  • 13th October  2015  - tree owned by Neville in Tea Tree Gully, Australia
  • 24th April  2015  - tree owned by Rachel in Wakefield, United Kingdom

2014 season

  • 9th May  2014  - tree owned by Siobhan in Larne, United Kingdom
  • 2nd May  2014  - tree owned by Danny in Lochore, United Kingdom
  • 28th April  2014  - tree owned by Rachel in Wakefield, United Kingdom

2013 season

  • 25th May  2013  - tree owned by Frank in Peacehaven, United Kingdom
  • 20th May  2013  - tree owned by Mark in Chippenham, United Kingdom
  • 15th May  2013  - tree owned by David in Sleaford, United Kingdom
  • 7th May  2013  - tree owned by Simon in Worcester, United Kingdom
  • May  2013  - tree owned by Michelle in Bournemouth, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2013  - tree owned by Rachel in Wakefield, United Kingdom

2012 season

  • 10th September  2012  - tree owned by Fletcher in Warragul, Australia
  • 14th May  2012  - tree owned by David in , United Kingdom
  • 20th April  2012  - tree owned by Frank in Peacehaven, United Kingdom

2011 season

  • 21st April  2011  - tree owned by David in Sleaford, United Kingdom
  • 15th April  2011  - tree owned by Frank in Peacehaven, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • 25th May  2010  - tree owned by Frank in Peacehaven, United Kingdom
  • 8th May  2010  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 5th May  2010  - tree owned by John in Reading, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2010  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • April  2010  - tree owned by Anthony in Aberdeen, United Kingdom

2009 season

  • 29th April  2009  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 27th April  2009  - tree owned by Frank in Peacehaven, United Kingdom
  • 18th 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

  • September  2016  - tree owned by Elaine in Mold, United Kingdom

2015 season

  • 3rd week September  2015  - tree owned by Jo in Kings Lynn, United Kingdom

2014 season

  • 2nd week September  2014  - tree owned by John in Malmesbury, United Kingdom
  • 1st week September  2014  - tree owned by Andy in Peterborough, United Kingdom
  • 4th week August  2014  - tree owned by Graeme in Standlake, United Kingdom

2013 season

  • November  2013  - tree owned by Mark in Chippenham, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week October  2013  - tree owned by Siobhan in Larne, United Kingdom
  • 4th week September  2013  - tree owned by Frank in Peacehaven, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week September  2013  - tree owned by Shannon in London, United Kingdom
  • September  2013  - tree owned by Biggsy50 in Hitchin, United Kingdom

2011 season

  • 4th week September  2011  - tree owned by Mandy in Bedford, United Kingdom
  • 4th week August  2011  - tree owned by nigel@purchon.com in Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week August  2011  - tree owned by Alistair in Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week July  2011  - tree owned by Richard in Needham Market, United Kingdom

2010 season

  • 2nd week September  2010  - tree owned by Anthony in Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week September  2010  - tree owned by Frank in Peacehaven, United Kingdom

2009 season

  • September  2009  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3rd week August  2009  - tree owned by Frank in Peacehaven, United Kingdom
  • 2nd week August  2009  - tree owned by Rachael in London, United Kingdom


  • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
  • Parentage: Possibly a seedling of Devonshire Quarrenden
  • Originates from: Worcester, England, United Kingdom
  • Introduced: 1870s
  • Developed by: Mr Hale of Swanpool
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1992-104
  • Some historical details taken with kind permission from 'The New Book of Apples' by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards , illustrated by Elisabeth Dowle, published by Ebury Press, 2002.


  • Awards: RHS AGM (current)
  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Period of origin: 1850 - 1899
  • Fruit colour: Red
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Popularity: Best sellers
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous


  • Picking season: Early
  • Keeping (of fruit): 1 week
  • Flavour quality: Good
  • Flavour style (apples): Sweeter
  • Discoloration of fruit: No discoloration (Good for drying)
  • Cropping: Heavy
  • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Picking period: mid-September
  • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


  • Gardening skill: Beginner
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Pollinating others: Average
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average vigour
  • Bearing regularity: Regular
  • Fruit bearing: Partial tip-bearer
  • Attractive features: Attractive flowers
  • Self-fertility: Partially self-fertile
  • Pruning: Do not prune


  • Frost resistance of blossom: Good resistance
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 4 (-34C)
  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
  • Cold hardiness (RHS): H6 (to -20C)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cold (< 20C / 67F)

Other qualities

  • Disease resistance: Average
  • Canker: Some susceptibility

Where to buy trees

The following tree nurseries offer Worcester Pearmain apple trees for sale:

Where to buy fresh fruit

The following orchards grow Worcester Pearmain:

United Kingdom



  • Apples of England (1948)
    Author: Taylor
  • Fruit Expert
    Author: Hessayon

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