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York Imperial apple

Good cooking/baking apple and excellent keeper.

USDA identification images for York Imperial

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

  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: York Imperial
  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: York Imperial
  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: York Imperial
  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: York Imperial

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

Offspring of this variety

Visitor reviews

  • 08 Nov 2018  KENTUCKY, United States
    I've just discovered this variety of apple this year at an orchard close to where I live. This is my new favorite! It's tart and sweet and juicy! I am so pleased with the flavor and its crispy texture. I cannot wait to eat one after it becomes more ripe in the fridge.
  • 01 Sep 2017  NC, United States
    Sliced York apple, Muenster cheese on plain crackers, a decent white wine: Tell me this isn't heaven and we'll have a second round. I adore the York Imperial.
  • 12 Jun 2016  ALABAMA (JEFFERSON), United States
    Want to purchase several types of apples, including Albemarle pippin, Arkansas black, Winesap, maiden's blush. Could you give me some info on seasonal availabilities, pricing, etc.?
  • 13 Oct 2014  PA, United States
    I love York Apple's, having found them in Daleville, VA and at Morgan Orchard in Union, WVa. Great in pies - mixes nicely with Northern Spy or Cortland.
  • 24 Apr 2013  NW VA, United States
    One of my favorite heirlooms, great flavor - long keeping. I have one planted, and is growing well. I'm afraid, however, that it may eventually succumb to fireblight, as I had a Nittany (York/Golden Del. cross) that was just coming into bearing and contracted the disease and died quickly, I think the blossoms get infected.
  • 21 Mar 2013  NORTH CAROLINA, United States
    The York is my favorite apple, I first tasted it in the fall of 2010 and it instantly became my favorite. I bought some Honeycrisp and York last fall, the Honeycrisp were very good but the York were even better.
  • 25 Nov 2012  PENNA /CHESTER CO.(SE PA), United States
    Mike (Nov. 22, 2012) : I don't know who gave you a " York" to eat in Sept but it definitely was not a ripe York at that time of the year. The York is a very late maturing apple and is really only ready to pick the end of Oct. to the beginning of Nov., with a very firm, yellowish, subacid, not very aromatic flesh . It must then be put in storage and allowed to ripen at least a month or more; generally near xmas until it can be eaten out of hand. They are very solid when they come off the tree, and will store in common refrigeration until April. In fact the tree was discovered because a farmer near York, PA, USA saw kids playing around under the tree in early spring and wandered what they were up to; when he went to check it out he found out they were getting good apples from under the remaining snow cover. This was about the 1930's. It was heavily propagated and planted in the Penna.'s commercial apple growing and processing industry area 40 miles west of York in the foot hills of the eastern Appalachian Mtns. Basically unknown by consumers, as it was never in the fresh market trade, I once heard that it was the most grown apple variety in Penna. which was almost exclusively used by the processing industry, though I doubt that this is still the case. It is a fair juice apple and it holds its texture when cooked so it makes the typically granular type sauce which seems to be the industry standard of commercial USA sauces. The York Imperial is relatively scab resistant and thus was grown along with Golden Delicious by some of the pioneer organic growers in th 50's and 60's . It's appearance and size are very similar to a dull Fuji with poor coloring, it also highly resembles a Kiku in shape and size and texture with out the color; both of which have the typical slanted cylinder shape of a York. (In fact the reason I got to this website is that I was looking up the origin of Kiku because the first ones I saw were just this year and are being grown and marketed by Rices Orchard and large fruit marketing operation in Biglerville, PA , and I was certain they had some York heritage, boy was I surprised.) There is a Red York sport with a fully colored dark burgundy color. Penn State University developed an apple from York for the fresh market that matured earlier; called Nitanny (after the school mascot the Nitanny Lions - a wild mountain lion of the nearby Nittany Mountain). I don't know if it was a sport selection or a breeding project. It was released in the 70"s but had problems with premature drop, and never really was successful. I have seen these on the commercial fresh market ocassionally.
  • 22 Nov 2012  Pennsylvania (south-central), United States
    I tasted this in Sept of this year in Biglerville, PA. The York Imperial grown in PA was slightly sweet with a nice pear taste. Nice apple except it is soft and seems to be a favorite of stink bugs. I had to throw our about half of what I bought.
  • 06 Jan 2012  FLORIDA, United States
    The york apple is my favorite among all that I tasted. Every one I ate was crisp and juicy, and the tart/sweet taste just beat all. I wish I could have then all year long.
  • 27 Oct 2011  CA, United States
    I tasted this among 9 other varieties at a Harvest festival at Whiskeytown National Park. This one had a great tart flavor and crisp texture making it my favorite over the Spitzenburg and Gravenstein.

Tree register

United States


Spring blossom records for this variety

2012 season

  • 1st April  2012  - tree owned by Ryan in Cumming, United States

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


  • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
  • Originates from: York, Pennnsylvania, United States
  • Introduced: 1830


  • Country of origin: United States
  • Period of origin: 1800 - 1849
  • Flesh colour: Golden / Yellow
  • Fruit size: Small
  • Fruit size: Average
  • Fruit size: Large
  • Fruit shape: Round
  • Fruit shape: Flat-round


  • Picking season: Mid
  • Flavour quality: Very good
  • Flavour quality: Good
  • Flavour style (apples): Sweet/Sharp
  • Flavour style (apples): Sharper
  • Flavour style (apples): Sweeter
  • Flavour style (apples): Aromatic
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Food uses: Culinary
  • Food uses: Hard cider
  • Food uses: Drying
  • Flavour style (apples): Honeyed


  • Bearing regularity: Biennial tendency
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
  • Fruit bearing: Partial tip-bearer

Where to buy fresh fruit

The following orchards grow York Imperial:

United States



  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as highly susceptible - control always needed where CAR is prevalent.
  • Apples for the 21st Century
    Author: Manhart
    Listed as York

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