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 ‘Wilding Bitter-sweet’

Macarthur’s ‘Loseby’s Bitter-sweet’ may be similar to the apple described here ‘Wilding Bitter-sweet’. I have found no specific reference to the former.

Fruit; roundish ovate to conical, ribbed. Skin; pale yellow, tinged with green, strewn with russet dots. flesh; white and tender. Juice moderate in quantity, a deep amber colour and of a vapid, bitter-sweet taste. It makes a highly coloured, sweet cider. [HP pl.XLV/1878].

Horticultural & Botanical History

A popular old cider apple, the origin of which is unknown. Produces a hardy, free-growing tree that bears well. [HP].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues under Cyder Apples, ‘The Best Known in Devonshire’ [Apple no.48/1845].


The identification of this apple as ‘Wilding Bitter-sweet’ is problematic. The word ‘Wilding’ as applied to fruit means seed-grown when the parentage is uncertain. In the 17th century in England an apple called ‘Royal Wilding’ achieved some fame in the cider-growing areas of Devonshire. [Batty Langley - Pomona or the Fruit Garden Illustrated p.135/1729]. ‘Royal Wilding’ is used here only as an illustration of bitter-sweet cider apples. All the apples in the figure are cider apples, including ‘Kingston Black’, which see.


Published Apr 16, 2010 - 03:03 PM | Last updated Jul 25, 2011 - 03:19 PM

6 varieties of apple are depicted, small, round or conical in shape, yellow or red skinned. Pomona Brittanica pl.45, 1878.

Apple ‘Wilding Bitter-sweet’ | HP pl.45/1878 - Wilding bitter-sweet is the apple at bottom left | RBGS


Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, probably England

Common Name

Apple, Cider apple

Name in the Camden Park Record

Loseby’s Bitter-sweet 

Confidence level low