I like to compare trees and now that the leaves are almost all gone, I wanted to see which varieties have the biggest leaves while there are still some left. Rootstock may play a part, but I think the variety trumps everything.
My top three are Dula Beauty, Ambrosia, and Hudson Golden Gem. BTW Dula is a 3 year old tree and Hudson a 2. Ambrosia is a 2 year old graft.
I remember Dave at Century Farms commenting on Dula Beauty’s large leaves when I bought it. For the comparison, I picked only a few varieties which had unusually large leaves. Pink Lady is on the top right and a more common size across the orchard.
Primarily because some important commercial varieties are triploid (see below). In general, triploids have the following morphological characteristics: more vigorous growth, larger fruits, large blossom (often very attractive), and large leaves that can be thick, stiff and leathery.
I read multiple articles but could not tease out exactly why triploids are more vigorous. One article said their plant cells are bigger. I can accept that but wonder how multiple sets of DNA contribute. Just more replication? The articles were pretty technical. I marked my tip bearing trees with a distinctive mark on their old tags. I’m considering doing the same for triploids. It’s nice to know when I’m in the orchard. Tip bearing especially.
I don’t think the other big leaves on my list are triploids. Perhaps one of their parents was down the line. Not sure.
On this note what contributes to vigor? Some of my red fleshed have really large leaves but my experience with them is relatively low vigor. Niezewetzykana seems to be an exception here. It has been growing amazing length and girth.