Mystery Apple Identified?

The mystery apple in the previous post has been tentatively identified as a Blue Pearmain. I’d have to see and most importantly, taste, a definite Blue Pearmain to be certain, but based on illustrations and the extremely detailed description in The Apples of New York (published by the Geneva Experimental Farm in New York state, 1905), that’s what I think it must be. My graft of it looks good, healthy, with nice plump buds despite all the leaves dying in the August drought, so possibly I have a Blue Pearmain of my very own. Now I just need a place of my own to plant my brutally pruned and root-pruned orchard and arboretum, which is continually cut back to keep it potentially capable of peregrination, when the time comes. As it must. Someday. Surely.

Update: Fall 2016
Well, we moved in July 2014 and the five apples I moved all survived, despite brutal pruning and root-pruning, as I think I probably posted elsewhere. The Barn Apple has not yet flowered, but a correspondant has suggested it may be a Stayman’s Winesap, and looking at yet more photos online, I’m thinking the original tree’s fruit is more leaning towards that than the Blue Pearmain. So … tip or spur bearing? I thought tip, but I answered that query (see previous post) when it had been a while since I saw the tree. I’m thinking now that it’s one that bears on both, since one of the two trees of this time did survive the hurricane a couple of years ago and I saw it recently. Apples of New York doesn’t actually mention tip- or spur; it does say that the Stayman’s Winesap doesn’t do well as far north as the Geneva Experimental Station, though, and we’re definitely further north than that here. (It also doesn’t think much of the Blue Pearmain as an apple, whereas these, whatever they are, are excellent.) So I’m still uncertain.

Meanwhile, the Cox’s Orange Pippin and Bishop’s Pippin both had fruit this year, and the Bramley didn’t, because I didn’t realize it was a dual tip- and spur-bearer (and mostly tip), and pruned it. Argh. It did have a couple of blossoms on spurs, but they didn’t set. The seedling I call Pippin’s Pippin did bloom for the first time, but set no fruit. Turns out it’s a tip-bearer, and of course it’s planted close between the barn apple and the Cox’s, where it’ll have to be pruned religously. (Well, they all will, because it’s a tiny yard and I like lots of variety in my trees.) Odds are it’s a Granny Smith seedling. Hopefully next year it’ll have an apple or two!

Update again: March 2017

I just came across a nice site with some good photos of various apples (Scott Farm Orchard), and their Blue Pearmain photo was instantly recognizable. “Yeah, that’s my apple.” So I think I’m pretty safe in declaring the Barn Apple to be Blue Pearmain. Maybe it’ll have some fruit this year. Today’s non-writing work: prune the apple trees.

About K.V. Johansen

The author of Blackdog, The Leopard, The Lady, Gods of Nabban, and The Last Road epic fantasies from Pyr, I also write for teens and children, including the "Torrie", "Warlocks of Talverdin", and "Cassandra Virus" series, and the "Pippin and Mabel" picture books, as well as a couple of short story collections and two works of adult literary criticism on the history of children's fantasy literature. I have a Master's degree in Mediaeval Studies, and read a lot of fantasy, science fiction, and history. Blog at
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