Redfleshed apple breeding

Note added in 2018....

...The notes below explain our first attempts at apple breeding, when we were learning how to do it.

I hope you find them of interest. We have expanded a lot since then. Our present work is company-confidential.

N.D. & A.M.D.

We are currently crossing some redfleshed American apples with good-flavoured English varieties in the hope of obtaining some worthwhile redfleshed seedlings.

During a typical season we also end up with a lot of redfleshed apple pips; we grow most of these on, and send some of them to people who ask.

We have a grower friend in Australia and others in Belgium and Germany who are doing similar work and who are using some of our crosses and open pollinated seeds.

At present we are keeping all hand-pollinated seedlings, and all red-leaved seedlings grown from open-pollinated pips.

Most redfleshed apples have a hint of 'crab apple' about them because of their ancestry; they are decended directly or indirectly from the Manchurian crab, also known as Niedweckzyana. Some have a bitter taste. Tasty redfleshed apples, especially those which store well and grow healthily, are very uncommon.

The notation describing a cross is written down like this: if you have Plant A x Plant B, A is the "mother" (ie it goes first), and B supplies the pollen.

I have shown the number of attempts at pollination in brackets ( ). Since I'm using redfleshed pollen only, B is redfleshed in all of these crosses.

The information below refers to my own growing; other growers in England, Australia, Germany and Belgium are involved in growing the seeds and are gradually sending in their observations and photographs.

The number of half-mature fruits resulting from hand pollination of English apples with redfleshed pollen at the beginning of September is shown below in square brackets [ ].

The number of mature fruit at the end of the season containing seeds is shown inside the pointed brackets< >. The percentage figure indicates % succesful pollination.

Whitwick Pippin x George's Red (43) [3] <3 > 7% - 8 seeds
Croft Late x George's Red (39) [1] <1 > 3% - 5 seeds
Laxton's Fortune x Almata (16) [1] < 1> 6% - 3 seeds
Ribston x Mott's Pink (20) [2] < 2> 10% - 4 seeds
d'Arcy Spice x Mott's Pink (65) [9] < 9> 14% - 45 seeds

Blackjack x Almata (3) [0]
Burford Yellow x Bieinrode (8) [0]
Tom Putt x George's Red (10) [0]
Bramley x George's Red (8) [0]
Wibtoft Pippin x Almata (3) [0]
Wyggeston Pippin x Almata (10) [0]

Total 207 attempted pollinations, 16 fruit, success rate 8%, 65 seeds.


  • Mott's Pink is a good pollinator.
  • George's Red has viable pollen.
  • Almata has viable pollen.
  • d'Arcy Spice x Mott's Pink appears highly compatible.

    Laxton x Almata 3/3. Two seedlings red stemmed, one green stemmed.
    Ribston's Pippin (triploid) x Mott's Pink. 1/4. Green stemmed.
    D'Arcy Spice x Mott's Pink: 7/16. Green stemmed.
    Whitwick Pippin x George's Red 1/5. Green stemmed.
    Croft Late x George's Red 2/10.

    Net result of first year's breeding: 8 seedlings of Mott's Pink, 3 of Almata, 3 of George's red.

    I should also have some redfleshed open-pollinated seedlings shortly, where the flower parent is known but not the pollen parent. (Mar 2011)



    2011 SEASON

    MM106(sic) x Bieinrode (30) [2]<2> - 16 seeds
    MM106 x Mott's Pink (21) [5]<0> - no mature fruit
    Burford Red x Mott's Pink (3)[2]<2> - 5 seeds
    Allen's Everlasting x Bieinrode (20)[9]<1> - 8 seeds
    Wyken Pippin x Bieinrode (19) [1]<1> - 8 seeds

    Pink Pearmain x Bieinrode (3)[0]
    Mere Pippin x Mott's Pink (3)[0]
    May Queen x Bieinrode (18) [0]
    Ribston x Bieinrode (13) [0]

    Total 130 attempted pollinations, 6 fruit, success rate 5%, 37 seeds.

    [ ] gives number of developing fruit following successful pollination...<> gives number of mature fruit.

  • Bieinrode has viable pollen.
  • Bieinrode and Mott's Pink are compatible with MM106 grown as a fruiting tree.
  • Bieinrode is a good pollinator for Allen's Everlasting.

    At the end of 2012 we had a few good seedlings of Burford Red x Mott's Pink, Allen's Everlasting x Bieinrode and Wyken Pippin x Bieinrode for growing on. The MM106 seedlings were unaccountably lost.

    We also had some interesting Laxton x Almata 2010 seedlings with three leaf colours, some green leaved D'Arcy Spice x Mott's Pink 2010 seedlings doing well, and one very vigorous Whitwick Pippin x George's Red 2010 seedling, which looks worthy of evaluation but which is unlikely to have red flesh.

    2012 SEASON

    The weather during the pollination season was appalling (golfball-size hail, for example - see Youtube), and the season continued with heavy fruit drop.

    Burford Sour x George's Red (27) [3]<1> - 1 seed only
    Blackjack x Burford's Redflesh (5) [2]<1> - 2 seeds only
    Langton's Nonesuch x Huonville Crab (5)[1]<1> - 6 seeds

    Laxton's Fortune x Scarlet Surprise (68)[0]
    Devonshire Quarrenden x Scarlet Surprise (21)[0]
    D'Arcy Spice x Scarlet Surprise (21) [0]
    Burfurd Sour x Scarlet Surprise (27) [0]
    Claygate Pearmain x Scarlet Surprise (30) [0]
    Pink Pearmain x Scarlet Surprise (17) [0]
    West Virginia Sweet x Scarlet Surprise (10) [0]
    Huonville Crab x Scarlet Surprise (18) [0]
    Croft Cider x Scarlet Surprise (17) [0]

    Laxton's Fortune x Burford's Redflesh (34) [0]
    Devonshire Quarrenden x Burford's Redflesh (27) [0]
    Golden Noble x Burford's Redflesh (20) [0]
    Merton Knave x Burford's Redflesh (12) [2] <0>
    Pink Pearl x Almata (4) [0]

    Total 376 attempted pollinations, 3 fruit, success rate 1%, 9 seeds.

    [ ] gives number of developing fruit following successful pollination...<> gives number of mature fruit.

  • 200 pollinations using Scarlet Surprise over a wide range of trees, but no fruit; looks like it may be triploid.
  • Burford's Redflesh has viable pollen.
  • Huonville Crab has viable pollen.

    It will make better sense another year to use a wider range of pollens. This year 99% of the work was done with Scarlet Surprise, Burford's Redflesh and Huonville Crab.


    At the end of the season I will have a small number of interesting seeds which will need growing on. Please contact me if you are an experienced grower and would like to grow, say, three seedlings. I would like you to keep FULL RECORDS of what happens, in exchange for the seeds. .

    I would want you to keep in touch and send pictures of the seedlings, the trees, the fruit, and eventually to report on the quality of the fruit. I will put the pictures and information online.

    For less experienced growers - I also keep all the seeds from my redfleshed apples for growing on. Most worthwhile varieties of apple have originated from open-pollinated seedlings - i.e. pollinated by bees.

    If you would like some seeds from open-pollinated redfleshed apples to grow into trees, and are willing to keep records, and send me pictures regularly, please get in touch. During the next season I should have seeds of most of the following: Almata, Mott's Pink, Pink Pearmain, Pink Pearl, Scarlet Surprise, Weirouge, Hidden Rose, a locally-discovered apple of good flavour (which I call 'Croft Red Devil'), Hall's Pink, Huonville Crab, M. Soulardii, M. Bieinrode, M. Breundsdorfer, Webster Pinkmeat, Burford's Redflesh, Giant Radish, Aldenham Purple, Pendragon, Sops-in-Wine, Burford's Redflesh, Purple Wave, Roter Mond.

    I will put any interesting pictures and information online.

    Growers: Suttonelms ...Seedlings from 2010. 2011. 2012. 2013. 2014. 2015
    Willy Cornelius ...
    Raising new varieties (video)

    updated by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website / Apr 2012

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