This is an Australian apple, found growing wild in Tasmania. It may be a cross between a domestic apple and a red-fleshed crab.
The apples are almost identical to Scarlet Surprise and Almata in appearance. They are round-conical, about two inches in diameter. The stalk is however longer and thinner, like a crab apple, in a shallow cavity, projecting beyond the base. The skin is wholly red and smooth, with no greyish bloom. The flesh is red and rather hard and crisp when first picked. The juice is sweet and tart. The eye is closed and there is little or no cavity. The tree fruits in most years during the first half of October.
This apple is more acidic than typical dessert varieties, having a very sharp flavour. It keeps in good condition for about a month. After this time it is sweeter without much richness or complexity and most of the acidity has disappeared. The fruit texture by this time is softer but with some residual crispness.
The tree is slender and makes a very attractive ornamental. The blossom is bright crimson, new leaves are bronze-coloured, and the wood is pigmented red. The flowering period is quite early; about a week before Bramley. It is an effective pollinator. The tree grows quite vigorously and there is no susceptibility to woolly aphis or mildew. It sometimes gets small black blotches on the skin, like James Grieve.
More details on the Diversity 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.
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