Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

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].




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

Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, probably England

  • 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




Confidence level low