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 ‘Golden Harvey’

‘A dessert apple, not larger than the Golden Pippin; colour light yellow, with a flush of red, and embroidered with a roughish russet. It is called Brandy Apple from the superior specific strength of its juice, being 10.85; it is of remarkably close texture, very rich in flavour, and will keep till April or May’. [FCM p.43/1845].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Produced a medium sized tree but is a fickle bearer. It was mentioned by Evelyn and was probably bred in the early 17th century. Fruit; small, oblato-cylindrical, even. Skin; entirely covered with rough, scaly russet with a yellow ground cover, exposed next the sun. Flesh; yellow, firm, crisp, juicy, sugary, rich and aromatic flavour. ‘The Brandy Apple, in a warm or favourable season, is perhaps the most delicious of all dessert apples.’ Ripening in December, it will keep until June, but requires careful storage.

Also used as a cider apple: ‘The cider made from it has so much strength as to give the apple its favourite local name of Brandy Apple. When, however, in a good season, the sweetness and aroma are happily retained, the cider is as rich as it is potent, and tradition tells that it has not unfrequently been exchanged, bottle for bottle, for the best old port wine.’ [HP pl.XVI/1878].

‘The tree is a free grower, and perfectly hardy. It attains about the middle size and is an excellent bearer. When grown on the paradise stock it is well adapted for dwarf training, and forms a good espalier. Independently of being one of the best dessert apples, it is also one of the best for cider; and from the great strength of its juice, the specific gravity of which is 1085, it has been called the Brandy Apple.’ [Hogg p.93/1851].

Described and figured in the Pomological Magazine. ‘This is by some supposed to be an Apple of very ancient date. Trees of considerable age are said to be growing on the Cotswold Hills, in Gloucestershire. By others it is doubted whether the writers on the fruits of the 17th century were acquainted with it, though Evelyn says, that some persons preferred the cider “of the Harvey Apple (being boiled)” to all other ciders; and the Harvey Apple and Russet Harvey are both mentioned by Worlidge. These doubts are very much strengthened by the fact that the Golden Harvey is even at the present day but little cultivated in comparison with its surpassing merits. It is, perhaps, the very best of all our fruits, on which account it is probable, that if of an old origin, it would have been by this time more universally known. It is not to be supposed, that because Worlidge names two sorts of Harveys, this must necessarily be one of them; for in the cider counties there appear to be three distinct kinds under that name, and the Harvey Apple of Norfolk is a sort totally different from either of these three.’ [PM t.39/1828].

 ‘Golden Harvey: A small round yellow fruit, very rich flavour, and a free bearer.’  [David Crichton.  NHM vol.1 p60/1864].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [Apple no.16/1845].


Two apples with synonyms The Harvey Apple are listed in the 'Herefordshire Pomona'. The apple listed as Golden Harvey is also called Brandy Apple and has therefore been described here. The apple named Dr. Harvey, synonym The Harvey Apple, has been described under the plant listed as Golden Hervey in the catalogues. See also Malus domestica Borkh. var. ‘Dr. Harvey’.

Published Apr 15, 2010 - 03:30 PM | Last updated Jul 25, 2011 - 04:51 PM

2 very similar apples are figured, both round, yellow, with fine red striations. Herefordshire Pomona pl.16, 1878.

Apple ‘Golden Harvey’ | HP pl.16/1878 Golden Harvey is the apple at the top | RBGS


Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, probably Europe but I have found no reference to its exact origins

  • Brandy Apple
  • The Harvey Apple
  • Round Russet Harvey


Common Name

Apple, Dessert apple, Keeping apple, Cider apple

Name in the Camden Park Record

Brandy Apple 

Confidence level high