Dozens of apple cultivars are grown throughout the world, but only a few account for the majority of the total world production. The following, in descending order, were the top ten apple cultivars in the world in 2000, which together comprised over 70 percent of all apple production in the world (O'Rourke, 2000).
'Delicious'. Originally named 'Hawkeye', this was a chance seedling discovered in Peru, Iowa, by Jesse Haitt. Stark Brothers Nursery introduced this cultivar in 1895 with the name 'Delicious'. The fruit is medium-size and conic, with prominent protruding calyx lobes. The tree is productive and bears annually if thinned. 'Delicious' is hardy to zone 5. Over the years, many red-coloring sports and trees with spurtype growth habits have been identified, patented, and extensively planted. Although fruit from these trees is more attractive than the original 'Hawkeye Delicious', eating quality is widely acknowledged to be inferior.
'Golden Delicious'. 'Golden Delicious' originated as a chance seedling in the orchard of Anderson Mullins in Clay County, West Virginia. It was named and introduced by Stark Brothers Nursery in 1916. 'Golden Delicious' fruit is yellow, medium-size, and conic. It frequently develops russet when grown in humid climates. The tree is very productive and very grower friendly. 'Golden Delicious' is considered to be a high-quality apple and has served as a parent to many of the promising new cultivars.
Granny Smith'. 'Granny Smith' was a chance seedling, with one of the parents thoughtto be 'French Crab'. It was discovered in Australia by Marie Ann (Granny) Smith and known to exist in her yard in 1868. It is a green, very late-maturing apple with very good quality and storage potential. Flesh is white and tart but becomes sweet in storage. The tree is extremely productive and possesses a growth habit that is easy to manage.
'Gala'. 'Gala' originated from a cross between 'Golden Delicious' and 'Kidd's Orange Red' made by J. H. Kidd in 1934. It was named 'Gala' in 1950. 'Gala' is considered an extremely high-quality apple that is medium in size. Several harvests are required, and as it approaches maturity, cracks can develop in the pedicel end. It was not planted heavily until the 1980s. Gala is revered for its excellent fruity taste.
'Fuji'. 'Fuji' originated from a cross of 'Red Delicious' and 'Ralls Janet' at the Tohoku Research Station, Japan, in 1939. It is a good-quality, medium-size, pink to light red apple that is sweet and stores very well. Fuji is popular in Japan and gained international recognition in the 1980s.
'Jonagold'. This apple resulted from a cross between 'Golden Delicious' and 'Jonathan' at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. It was named by Roger Way and introduced in 1968. The fruit is large, conic, blushed pinkish red with extremely high quality. It is atriploid, so its pollen is not viable as a pollinizer. Fruit quality tends to be best in cooler climates. Storage life is medium to short, and it is quite susceptible to the calcium deficiency disorder that manifests itself as bitter pit.
'Idared'. This cultivar was selected in 1935 from a cross of 'Jonathan' and 'Wagner' made by Leif Verneratthe Idaho Experiment Station. The fruit is midseason, medium to large, red, and round to conic, with white flesh. Flavor is mild, and quality is average. 'Idared' can be stored longer in regular atmosphere storage than most apples. It is considered both a dessert and a processing apple. 'Idared' is one of the earliest-blooming cultivars. The tree is moderate size and very grower friendly.
'Jonathan'. 'Esopus Spitzenburg' is believed to be the seed parent of this apple that was discovered before 1926 in Woodstock, New York. 'Jonathan' is a mostly red, small to medium, round dessert apple with whitish flesh. It ripens midseason and has a very mild flavor that is somewhat acidic. The tree is small and is noted for its susceptibility to mildew.
'Rome Beauty'. 'Rome' was a seedling discovered in Rome township, Ohio, in about 1832. It is a very large, burgundy red, late-ripening apple. The skin is thick and tough, the flesh is white, and the taste is subdued and mildly acidic. 'Rome' is a good cooking apple, but the dessert quality is fair at best. It stores very well in regular atmosphere storage.
'Mcintosh'. This apple, believed to be a seedling of 'Fameuse', was discovered by John McIntosh in 1796. It is a midseason, medium-size, good-quality red dessert apple. 'McIntosh' frequently displays excessive preharvest drop, has soft flesh, and poor red color development. Consequently, it is grown commercially only in areas that are cool during the harvest period. The tree has above-average cold hardiness.
Barritt, B. H. (2001). Apple quality for consumers. Compact Fruit Tree 34:54-56. Childers,N. E. and W. B. Sherman, eds. (1988). The peach: World cultivars to marketing, Third edition. Gainsville, FL: Horticultural Publications. Greene, D. W. and W. R. Autio (1993). Comparison of tree growth, fruit characteristics, and fruit quality of five 'Gala' apple strains. Fruit Var. J.47:103-109.
Hampson, C. R. and H. A. Quamme (2000). Use of preference testing to identify tolerance limits for visual attributes in apple breeding. HortScience 35:921-924.
O'Rourke, D. (2000). World apples to 2010. The World Apple Report 8(1):6-8.
Ricks, D., K. Heinze, and J. Beggs (1995). Consumer preference information related to Michigan apples. The Fruit Grower News 35:38-39.
Stebbins, R. L., A. A. Duncan, O. C. Compton, andD. Duncan (1991). Taste ratings of new apple cultivars. Fruit Var. J.45:37-44.
Watada, A. E., J. A. Abbott, R. E. Hardenburg, and W. Luby (1981). Relationships of apple sensory attributes to head space volatiles, soluble solids, and titrateable acids. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 106:130-132.
Webster, A. D. andN. E. Looney, eds. (1996). Cherries: Crop physiology, production and uses. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.
Was this article helpful?
If you love chocolate then you can’t miss this opportunity to... Discover How to Make Homemade Chocolate! Do you love gourmet chocolate? Most people do! Fine chocolates are one of life’s greatest pleasures. Kings and princes have for centuries coveted chocolate. Did you know that chocolate used to be one of the expensive items in the world, almost as precious as gold? It’s true!