Glossary and observations - or what to look for when trying to identify an apple

On the stalk end of the apple

Stalk – usually characteristic in length and thickness but not necessarily so, the King apple in particular can have a non typical stalk.  You need several in the sample and to check the pre-dominant type.  The stalk can be swollen or embedded deep within the Cavity.  It can also be characteristically bent to one side i.e. Golden Delicious

Cavity – the depression around the stalk.

Lipped – a lip on one side of the cavity, sometimes pushing the stalk to one side.  Sometimes there is a fleshy bump on the stalk and this can be characteristic of a particular variety. i.e. Newton Wonder

Russet – either present in cavity or not.  Can be described as specks, streaks, patches or netting.  Can extend from cavity over shoulder of apple.  Can be golden, brown, cinnamon, grey, corky.


On the surface of the apple

Flush – unbroken colour on surface of apple.

Mottled – when the colour is broken showing the base colour underneath.

Base colour – the underlying colour, usually yellow or green.

Stripes – can be broad, short, long, indistinct or broken.

Hair line – a line that runs from Base to Apex, sometimes russeted.  Seen often on Lady Henniker and Wyken Pippin.

Skin texture – smooth, rough, dry or greasy.  The greasy feeling often increases in store.

Lenticels – are pores in the skin where gases are exchanged during growth.  Can be diagnostic, show up as spots of russet or colour.  Mostly round but can be star shaped and irregular, sometimes surrounded by a lighter colour i.e. Granny Smith

Bloom – white or blue cover over the colour of the apple.  Easily removed by handling. i.e. Spartan

Hammered – a knobby, uneven feel to the surface. i.e. Jonagold


On the eye end of the apple

Basin – the depression around the Eye, skin can be puckered, wrinkled or ribbed into the Eye.

Rib crowns – can be felt at apex, usually five crowned i.e. Red Delicious but apples can have seven crowns.

Beading – small round/oval raised knobs surrounding eye.  i.e. Early Victoria

Sepals – the part of the flower remaining after the fruit has formed, these form the eye of the fruit.  Can be reflexed, convergent, upright, erect and/or with reflexed tips.  They can be downy i.e. covered with hairs.

The Sepals surround the Eye which can be open, part open or closed.  Early in the season an Eye which later opens can appear closed, also an Eye with all the Sepals broken later in the season can appear open. 


 Inside the apple
The Stamens also remain from the flower and can be seen inside the tube behind the eye.  Sometimes difficult to see if the apple is old or damaged, they can be marginal, when they are just inside the Eye and the Sepals, median if they are in the centre of the tube and basal when they are near the base of the tube i.e. nearer the centre of the apple.  I have noted this in the descriptions where possible but some of my early records did not include this information.

Tube can be found behind the Eye when the Apple is cut from Stalk to Eye, funnel shaped or more usually cone shaped.

Core  – the size of the core can be diagnostic i.e. it is very small in Queen. 

Core lines can vary, in Hoary Morning the lines have red colour marking them.  Sometimes the core lines follow the core quite closely i.e. D’Arcy Spice.  The point at which it touches the tube is sometimes diagnostic.

Seeds – vary in size and amount, i.e. there are no seeds in White Melrose, can be thin, plump, short, long.

Axis – the ‘star’ when the apple is cut in half, can be open or closed.  Axile when even or Abaxile if asymmetrical.  See under ‘core’ in the text.

Flesh – can be soft, fine or coarse textured, tinted cream or green.  Taste is subjective and apples brought to Apple Day have often been stored or are unripe and are not at their best but some like Ellison’s Orange with its aniseed taste are unmistakable.  The taste varies also from soil and weather.


Other observations

Leaves – usually do not appear with the apple on Apple Day so my personal records are deficient although there are a few comments where particularly helpful.  There are good descriptions in Bultitude, Sanders and Clark

Growth – it is useful to know whether the tree is a tip bearer i.e. most of the fruit is at the end of the branches on wood made the previous summer i.e. Charles Ross or a spur bearer with fruit on two year old wood or older wood.  Some trees do both!

King apple – the apple at the centre of the fruit cluster, preferably removed when thinning the crop.  Often not a characteristic shape for the variety. i.e. Mere de Menage