The first red-fleshed apple I encountered was RED DEVIL, a fruit of
unexceptional flavour unless taken straight from the tree. This is
a good decorative tree, with striking red-pink blossom and slender habit.
It is a cross between "Discovery" and "Kent" and at best, it has a hint of
strawberry in its flavour. It produces pink juice, and was raised 1975 by H.F.Ermen at
I have been contacted by a number of apple collectors and growers since
starting the site, and two people have supplied me with scions of
red-fleshed apples; I am grateful to. D.L. and G.H. for their "Surfleet
Sour", a red-fleshed sour cooker from near Spalding, and "George's Red"
from Essex, which is an otherwise un-named apple from a tree 100
years old resembling "Red Devil" in appearance.
A couple of months after mentioning George's apple on this site I was
contacted by a guy from America asking for scion wood. It prompted me
to see if I could find any other red-fleshed varieties. I was surprised
to find a few internet references to red-fleshed apples, including
some stunning photographs. None of them are in the National Fruit
Collection, so far as I can tell from Joan Morgan's book, apart from
"Surprise"; and in fact the only noteworthy feature of this apple -
its pink flesh - isn't mentioned in her description of it.
Sometimes, in a sunny year, other red-skinned apples
get a pink tinge under the skin. When
this happens, the flavour is generally sweeter
and richer than normal. I've noticed the same thing in
Merton Knave and several other earlies. Here's a Devonshire
Quarrenden, grown in Leicestershire, UK, in 2006.
Albert Etter was an apple breeder from North California who died about
fifty years ago. He crossed the pink-fleshed variety "Surprise" with
various apples and one of the seedlings he produced was "Pink Pearl",
which enjoyed commercial release. At one time he had about thirty
red seedlings in his experimental orchard, but after his death it
was neglected and it turned into a wilderness.
In the 1970s the Greenmantle nursery in Garberville, California
investigated the remains of the
orchard and found twelve types of red-fleshed apple. The best seven
it has now propogated and licensed, and these are for sale under
the name "Rosetta Apples" -a nice play on words. The varieties have
been named Pink Pearmaine, Blush Rosette, Thornberry, Rubaiyat,
Christmas Pink, Grenadine, and Pink Parfait. Their site gives a detailed
description of their work in rescuing these apples, and some amazing
photographs; the web address is:
The "Tree-mendus" apple site and nursery sells five red-fleshed apples:
Hidden Rose, Pink Sparkle, Pink Pearl (Etter's original commercial
seedling), Surprise and Almata. The web address is:
On the "fourseasonscabinrental" site, 'Derek' lists
thirty-one varieties of red fleshed apple, with detailed descriptions.
His web address is :
It's good that there is so much interest in apple diversity and
that the internet can bring together enthusiasts from every part of the
The breeding of a commercial red-fleshed apple is being investigated in New Zealand by
a private company - HortResearch. It's described as "rich in antioxidants" and
looks as if it will be at the front of a big apple marketing campaign in
a few years. The Hortresearch programme has been funded by New Zealand
and Australia. It began work on the new apple in 1998, using apples
with naturally red flesh but without the appearance, flavour or storage
life to be a commercial success. It crossed these apples with high-quality
white-fleshed apples, creating breeding lines ranging from white-pink flesh
to purple. The red-fleshed breedling line was selected for development.
More modern knowledge of fruit genetics has enabled the breeding
programme to be a lot faster than it would have been a couple of generations ago.
There has been no genetic modification, just selective crosses and
selection. The apple should be available to growers in about five to
six years, once enough scion wood has been grown; it could be in the shops in
Update, New Zealand Herald, 6 Apr. 07. Progress continues with the project, but there's a
snag - appearance of the apple is fine, but taste not so good. Research continues.
Update, Mar 08. The Swiss are also developing a red-fleshed apple for the mass market.
Further update, May 09: A German redfleshed apple exists, with limited commerical circulation: 'Weirouge'. There is also South African interest in developing a popular red-fleshed apple. More on this shortly.
UPDATE, REDFLESHED APPLE NEWS
The Swiss redfleshed apple has been released to Sutton's, who are selling the trees. It's called REDLOVE, and there are two types which mature at slightly different times. Here is a link to a video clip where Markus Kobelt shows us his 'Redlove' trees.
The redfleshed apple programme continues with Hortresearch (now renamed 'Plant & Food Research Institute') working alongside its marketing partner Prevar.
3500 trees of Weirouge (a German redfleshed variety) have been planted in the Val Venosta area of Italy's South Tyrol region. Release date of the apples for the general market should be around 2013.
In 2009, Goldland Fruit Group, in China, showed its own red-fleshed apple at the Asia Fruit Logistica trade fair in Hong Kong. This one was bred by a Dutch company, Next Fruit Generation. Goldland chairman Leo Chiu said they are starting to multiply the variety ready for commercial production in a few years.
Dr Richard Espley, a molecular biologist at Plant & Food Research, has been involved in the group's research into red-fleshed apples. He explains on a youtube video that redfleshed apples occur in nature in Central Asia, but usually have a poor taste, so need to be crossed with good flavoured white fleshed apples to give a commercially viable, red-fleshed eating variety.
Colorsfruit, Paarl, South Africa, is carrying out a breeding programme to produce South Africa's own commercial red-fleshed apple.
Lots of progress since the last update. There are commercial plantings, in various countries, of Weirouge, Pixirosso, Baya Marisa, and redfleshed apple trees available at many nurseries in Europe. Particularly noteworthy are several 'Redlove' cultivars, available from Lubera.
UPDATE, May 2014
I have written an article 'The Diversity of Redfleshed Apples' - click on the link to read it.
ND, Diversity website
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