Benham Apple

If you have grown or tasted a Benham apple (old southern variety) I am interested in your comments on taste, disease experience. I have read the Burford description but trying to get more input before grafting it around on friends’ trees.


Here is a quote from Lee Calhoun’s book, Old Southern Apples: “John Creech, a nurseryman in Kentucky, rated Benham as the finest apple ripening in its season: ‘Truly an apple for the connoisseur, sugar and acid being perfectly balanced.’ He remembers the delicious stack cakes his grandmother made from dried Benham apples and served at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasions. The cut flesh is slow to turn brown and so is excellent for drying, canning, and freezing. Slightly immature Benhams make fine applesauce and can be dried. The tree ripens its fruit over several weeks and the ‘drops’ provide apples for daily use.
Fruit medium or above, roundish to slightly oblate, conical, often ribbed; skin smooth, very thin, greenish yellow, sometimes with a slight blush on the sunny side, rarely striped with red; dots small, russet, often surrounded with green; stem thick and very short with a fleshy protuberance in a deep, wide, uneven, greenish russeted cavity; calyx closed or slightly open; basin abrupt, deep, corrugated; flesh slightly yellowish, juicy, fine-textured, subacid to almost sweet, nutty flavored. Ripe July/ August.”

I will be grafting this variety in 2016, so no first-hand experience yet.


Thanks Fig. Am curious why this variety is so little grown. I saw a hint or two in internet research that it might be blight prone. My grafts should fruit this summer then I’ll have a better idea about its worth. I might have to make apple sauce.

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No problem. It sounds like a great variety. It could be that it was just known regionally. Please let me know what you think of the fruit.

My grandmother lived in Barbourville Ky and received a Benham apple tree from the Creeches. It was the best tree for cooked apples, apple butter and stack cakes. If anyone has any information on how I could buy one I would be immensely grateful! We lost her 30 years ago (the house was sold much earlier than that and the tree was cut down) and would love to have another way to share her memory with my daughter who is her name sake. Thank you


Contact David Vernon at . He has it listed in his Master List.


Update: 2014 benchgraft on G30- no apples yet. 2021 will be year eight. Joined my category of Longest to Fruit that includes Northern Spy, Dula Beauty and Aunt Rachel.

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HOw is your Benham apple tree doing? How is the taste?

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I would like to know how this apple is as well. It sounds like a great apple. I would like to know how this apple tastes and grows from someone that actually has been growing one.


Same. Someone has to grow and fruit this apple by now. Sounds like a good one though reading of its attributes.

Hi. I have grafted a Benham apple tree and have one for sale.

Hi. How is your Benham apple tree doing as far as disease resistance? How does the fruit taste?

I grafted it over here for failure to fruit after many years. A friend has it but I haven’t visited them in years. So, sorry can’t report.

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Thanks for update.

So still no first hand reports on how the Benham actually tastes. :frowning_face:

I am trying to find out information on the Benham that developed the apple. I believe he was a friend of my great great grandfather who had an orchard in Tennessee in the late 1800’s. Does anyone have a first name on him?

I would ask Ron Joyner at Big Horse Creek Farm or David Vernon at Century Farm Nursery, both NC. Or Tom Brown at Apple

I tasted an apple near my grandparent’s house in the late 80’s that I think was Benham. I went by shape (flat) color (yellow) flavor (sweet and tart) and the CAR. I am sure the tree is long since gone, and my graft on a pitiful rootstock on terrible soil also long since gone. I liked it. Also, I noticed some discussion here on the Horse apple. It’s a deep bodied apple, also tart. My kids picked up a bunch of them under a named nurseryman’s tree, and we were all crazy about them. Also yellow and rather tart, but no way to mistake it for the (supposed) Benham!