Malus domestica Borkh. var. ‘English Russet’

‘Roxbury Russet, Boston Russet, Pineapple Russet. This variety is cultivated extensively in Massachusetts for the Borston Markets, and for exportation. The fruit is of medium size; of a fine yellow russet colour, mixed with dull red; flesh white, juicy, rich, sub-acid, and excellent; for use in winter, and will keep till June.’ [FCM p.45/1845].

 

Horticultural & Botanical History

Fruit; roundish, flattened, angular. Skin; yellowish green, intermixed with brownish russet. Flesh; yellowish, crisp, with sugary, rich flavour. The tree is an abundant bearer. A first quality dessert apple with excellent keeping qualities. Its season is January to April. [Proc. RHS 1862-1865].

 

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [Apple no.6/1843]. There are two references to a ‘Russet’ apple in William Macarthur’s records.

Russet.  April-August.  Greta.  Sometimes an [two indistinct words] dessert fruit but often too acid.  Of no value for kitchen. [Notebook no.9, MP A2948].

April-August.  Sometimes very sweet but often acid and of tough leathery consistence. [Diary B, 1862, MP A2951].

 

Notes

There are many apples with the name ‘Russet’, so named for a preponderance of russet on the skin, often completely masking the ground colour. The Russet described here is probably the apple listed as Russet in the catalogues.  There is much commonality in synonyms between the ‘Roxbury Russet’ of the Fruit Culturist’s Manual and the ‘English Russet’ of the RHS Proceedings to make it likely that they are describing the same fruit, notwithstanding some minor differences in description.  ‘Russet’ apples invariably have a qualifying name such as ‘English’. The lack of such a qualifyer in Macarthur’s records means that it is unlikely that we will accurately identify this apple.

 

Published Apr 15, 2010 - 02:33 PM | Last updated Jul 25, 2011 - 05:07 PM


More details about Malus domestica Borkh. var. ‘English Russet’
Family Rosaceae
Category
Region of origin

Garden origin, probably England

Synonyms
  • Boston Russet
  • Roxby Russet
  • Shypen’s Russet
  • Pitman’s Russet
  • Pineapple Russet
Common Name

Apple, Culinary apple, Keeping apple

Name in the Camden Park Record

Russet

 

Confidence level

low