Black Apples

I remember picking a delicious black apple off a tree outside a re stop years ago in southern VA. I think I found another apple on the public side of a yard in Lancaster count PA one year. All I know is they where defiantly not empire apples. I assume Arkansas Black but I also found a Amish Black existed. Any opinions on Black Apple cultivars?


There are others that can be nearly black under the right conditions. Black Oxford, Viking, Black Limbertwig, and Williams Pride come to mind. I’m sure that I’m forgetting some.

Probably Arkansas Black, but could have been King David.

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With enough sooty blotch, any apple can be black.


Do Arkansas Black appear black on the tree or only after storage as I have been reading?

only the Black Oxford and Arkansas black seems like it could be the one I am looking for. Do you know anything about it?

Fedco offers it, and has a description of it on their website. There’s a bit more information available online, at places like Cummins Nursery, Orange Pippin, Orange Pippin Trees, and Adam’s Apples. Tom Burford also includes it in his Apples of North America.

I have a scion of it growing here, but it’ll probably be another year before it bears, so I don’t have enough experience with it to add any personal observations.

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There’s also a Black Gilliflower - also known as Sheep’s Nose - purported to be a favorite apple of Ben Franklin… but Black Gilliflower doesn’t often get very black in appearance.

Black Oxford was traditionally grown only in far northern New England. It was recently popularized by Fedco Trees of Maine and is getting trialed more widely across Zones 6 and lower. I placed a graft of it last week. The photos of the apple online are stunning. What a looker.

Arkansas Black is another beautifully dark apple. Around here, they turn a lavender purple, but further south, they can get really dark. I’ve tasted this one several times, and don’t like it, but others claim they can get it to taste good with some extra work. It is popular for hard cidermaking.

What a beautiful apple! I never would have guessed a tree from Maine would do so well all the way down in Southern VA. A lot of those NE apples don’t especially love the weather in the South.

(Now I think I’ll have to see if it will grow in Georgia…)

Fedco rates Black Oxford to Zone 6. Higher than that, they make no guarantees.

Gimme a year, and I’ll let you know how it performs in 10a!

Speaking of Maine apples, I also have Granite Beauty grafted here, and it looks like I may get a sample this year. I have Cole’s Quince as well, though it’s not ready to bloom yet.

Here on the coast, our summers are cool enough that I may even get away with it. It’s cheap fun to try, in any case.

Go for it. We’ll expect a full report.

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The flavor is supposed to improve in storage but the ones I had off the tree tasted great to me.

Does anyone know if the Black Oxford is spur bearing or tip bearing? The original Arkansas black appears to be tip bearing according to Orange Pippin. There is also an Arkansas Black cultivar from Stark that is spur bearing. It was developed in 1983 so its likely off patent. Hopefully I can find a scion this winter.

According to this old document from the Home Orchard Society, Black Oxford is a semi-spur variety.

Your apple was not Black Oxford, that was a very local apple until recently. My first guess would be Winesap as it was very common, and a Winesap heavily covered with spotty blotch is a very dark apple indeed. Arkansas Black is usually not so tasty off the tree. Amish Black is not common at all. Random old apple trees are almost always one of the top-10 apples for that region in that period – even though there were many varieties grown, the top-10 always seem to account for 90%+ of the trees.


My Ruby Jon gets really dark.

couldn’t have been a winesap. I have eaten winesaps the color wasn’t right and the apple just not nearly as exciting. I can pin point the time the last apple I tasted was. I was in Lancaster PA for the ren fair and I took pictures. Oct 11 2014 Zone6B and tasty off the tree.

Another possibility might be Burgundy (sold here, among other places). It’s not particularly common, either, but it likely could be found here and there in that region.

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The reviews I have read of Ark Bl say that when left on the tree until ‘black’ they are best.
I have the [quote=“lordkiwi, post:14, topic:10599”]
Arkansas Black cultivar from Stark that is spur bearing

and am in VA. So let me know if you are interested in scions. I can check the frig too if you are interested - or contact me next winter.

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