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

Wickson crab-apple

Wickson Crab was developed by Albert Etter, an apple enthusiast best-known for his work on pink-fleshed and red-fleshed apples.  Wickson was the result of crossing two other crab apple varieties.  Confusingly Etter refers to them as Spitzenberg crab and Newtown crab in his patent papers, but it is not thought they are related to the mainstream apples of the same names but were crabs developed by Etter himself.  In this respect Etter pre-dated the modern trend for using crab-apples in breeding programmes.

Like most crab-apples Wickson is very small, and is also a hardy and problem-free tree.  However that is where the resemblance to other crab-apples ends.  Wickson is unusually sweet, but at the same time has a strong acid component.  The result is an apple which has a very strong flavor, making it an excellent component for cider blends.  (This flavor of course tends to encourage the view that Spiztzenburg and Newtown Pippin might be involved somewhere in the parentage, as these apples both have pronounced flavors).

Etter named his apple after his friend Edward J. Wickson, a leading Californian pomologist who was one of the few experts who took his work seriously at the time.

Wickson identification images

ARS GRIN
©Copyright ARS GRIN

USDA identification images for Wickson

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.

    Visitor reviews

    • 24 Dec 2020  VIRGINIA, United States
      Albemarle Ciderworks (Charlottesville, VA) now offers a single-varietal Wickson dry cider. It's the best cider I've ever tasted. https://www.albemarleciderworks.com/blog/new-cider-release-wickson-crab
    • 09 Oct 2017  MA, United States
      The first apples (ever!, yeah!) off of any of my trees, four small, scabby red / brown / green /gold spheres, the size of golf balls. Hard, but very sweet (not being sure when to harvest, I let them sit on the tree until the first two dropped by themselves). Definitely acid and somewhat tannic, moderate juiciness. No particular flavors to compare them to, just a very apple-ly, clean taste. It was a gamble planting Wickson, never having tasted one before, but all indications were that it would be a good addition to the orchard. I think I guess right!
    • 27 Mar 2015  VERMONT, United States
      I went to an apple tasting at Walden Heights Nursery in Walden, Vermont, and among the 100 varieties I tasted, this was a top 5! Oh my goodnesss! The intensity of the flavor reminds me of Ashmead's Kernel, though they don't taste alike. Amazing apple! This is a great apple and it tasted great grown in a zone 4!
    • 11 Nov 2013  DC, United States
      I happened upon Wickson apples at an orchard near Navarro, CA, near Humboldt County. It is the best apple I have ever tasted. I am considering scheduling all my future trips to Northern California around apple season just to have the opportunity to purchase Wicksons directly from the growers.
    • 15 Oct 2012  CA, United States
      Wickson is my favorite variety of apple. In my humble opinion, it is the best tasting apple I have ever had. Though I personally enjoy just eating them raw, they are particularly well suited for white-chocolate caramel apples because their tart flavor offsets the super-sweet white chocolate, and also because they are small enough that one person can easily eat the whole thing.
    • 24 Dec 2011  OREGON, United States
      I have a small orchard with about eighty varieties of more-or-less antique types of apple on dwarfing rootstocks. Wickson Crab is one of my favorites, a vigorous and annually productive tree that, on EMLA 27, bears up to fifty pounds of apples a year. This fruit is delightful to eat fresh off the tree - juicy, very sweet, very tart, and with a complex "appley" flavor. I usually give most of the crop to a local lady who makes it into the most delicious crabapple jelly, of an amber colour, that you would ever taste. This winter I intend to put in six new trees grafted on P-2 rootstock.
    • 13 Nov 2011  CALIFORNIA, United States
      I've tasted Wickson in both colder climates and our hot climate, and it definately prefers a great deal of heat to achieve top quality. This is not surprising, as Humbolt County in the Sierra Nevada foothills where it originates gets very hot in the summer, sometimes hitting 115F. People are usually amused when I hand them this tiny apple, thinking it is a joke or something. But their eyes light up when they crunch into it and taste the wonderful sweet/tart balance, and nibble it down to a tiny core, sucking the last juice out of the core. The tree bears reliably and looks like Christmas decorations hanging there, ripening in mid-November here in Southern California.

    Tree register

    United States

    Canada

    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2020 season

    • 21st April  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

    2019 season

    • 23rd April  2019  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

    2018 season

    • 20th April  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

    2017 season

    • 25th April  2017  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States
    • March  2017  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

    2016 season

    • 5th April  2016  - tree owned by Chris in Kennewick, United States
    • 4th April  2016  - tree owned by Chris in Kennewick, United States

    2015 season

    • 3rd April  2015  - tree owned by Chris in Kennewick, United States

    2011 season

    • May  2011  - tree owned by Dan in Camano Island, United States

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


    Harvest records for this variety

    2020 season

    • 4th week October  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

    2019 season

    • 3rd week October  2019  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

    2018 season

    • 2nd week October  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

    2017 season

    • 2nd week October  2017  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States
    • October  2017  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

    2015 season

    • 2nd week September  2015  - tree owned by Chris in Kennewick, United States

    Origins

    • Species: Malus domestica
    • Parentage: Probably other unknown crab apples developed by Etter
    • Introduced: Early 20th century
    • Developed by: Albert Etter

    Using

    • Picking season: Late
    • Cropping: Heavy
    • Keeping (of fruit): 2-3 weeks
    • Food uses: Juice
    • Food uses: Hard cider

    Growing

    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
    • Flowering group: 2
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Bearing regularity: Regular

    Climate

    • Cold hardiness (USDA): (5) -20F / -29C
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Hot (>30C / 86F)

    Identification

    • Flower colour: White
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Fruit colour: Orange / Red

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Wickson crab-apple trees for sale:


    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Wickson:

    United States




    Varieties you viewed



    ©2022 Orange Pippin Ltd. All rights reserved.

    You may not reproduce any of the content of this website without our express permission.
    We do not accept any liability for loss or damage incurred as a result of any errors in the content of this website.