Choices and comparisons

Questions I am considering before ordering more apple scionwood:

If I have an Orleans Reinette, do I really need an Adams Pearmain?

If I have a Blue Pearmain, do I really need a Jewett’s Fine Red?

If I have a Kidd’s Orange Red and a Karmijn, do I really need a Rubinette?

If I have a Primate, do I really need a Dorset Golden?

If I lost a Yellow Bellflower, do I really need to replace it?


I think they are all three different enough from one another to justify having them all! But I’m greedy that way. : -)


I’m not talking apples but on my collections (jujubes and persimmons) I know exactly what you are saying…. Logic applied…. No. BUT WAIT!!! What does logic have to do with it???


I agree with @marknmt - Rubinette is different enough, and good enough, to warrant inclusion in that group.

Among your other questions: I don’t grow Dorsett Golden, but I understand that it’s a sweet apple when fully ripe. I do grow Primate, and it’s fairly tart when ripe (here, at least). I don’t think I’d consider them interchangeable. DG also has the issue of blooming Very Early, so you pretty much have to plant Anna or Shell to pollinate it, and I’d think it would be very much at risk for freeze damage as far north as you are.


With blueberries and honeyberries, I haven’t found much difference in flavor among the numerous varieties I was enticed into planting. The main difference is berry size and ripening date. Now I am waiting for my apple varieties to produce. There has been quite a difference between the few apple varieties that have given at least a sample so far. My four producing pear varieties all taste a little different, too. My three kolomitka kiwi varieties taste about the same, as do the rhubarbs. The peaches, apricots, and tree cherries have croaked before a successful harvest. One doesn’t need a large orchard of many varieties, except to satisfy an addiction for fruit growing. Sigh.


i haven’t tasted the apples your talking about.

But i run into similar problems each year.

If decided to make multiple franken tree’s. Not the most reliable for cropping and ease of picking (learning picking time for loads of apples)
But for me, definitely the most fun. Getting to taste an collect multiple varieties.

Orleans Reinette and Adams Pearmain seem different enough from the discriptions if heard to me. So their both on my “list”

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Thanks everyone who has replied. I’ll start making some replies.

I’ve been greedy, too, but as the orchard already has 100+ varieties and I approach 70 years, I have to decide when is enough.

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Our own Primates have not born fruit yet, although one blossomed this year, so we have hopes for next year. I have sampled one, but the friend who saved it for me didn’t see me right away, so it was soft and mealy, but the flavor was quite sweet. I guess I shouldn’t judge on one apple. If I bite into something tarter than I might have expected, now I’m prepared. Thanks.

I first tasted a Dorsett Golden before I knew anything about it. It was one of the varieties we sampled a few years back at the Experimental Orchard in Geneva when we were left on our own to explore after a walking tour. Quite sweet. When I looked it up after getting home, we were quite surprised it was first grown in the Bahamas – it was growing quite well in the Finger Lakes, and at its peak in mid-September. I might give it a try.

I agree. My wife can detect differences in flavors of blueberries, but I can’t.

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Both were on my list. Our first Orleans Reinette had crown rot and keeled over, but I successfully grafted another this year. Adams Pearmain was an unsuccessful graft last year, but I paused before trying again.

Those videos emphasize why I linked them together. They are both very old English varieties that are dry and nutty in flavor, perhaps best enjoyed at tea time with a slice of cheddar or Double Gloucester with a friend who has very fine manners.

Is a bit of difference in flavor enough?

Havre you seen @scottfsmith’s 2918 apple report?
Scott's apple variety experiences through 2018.

Another person who grows a lot of heirloom apples is @HighandDry . Hope he will give you his view on the varieties you mentioned.

Oh, yes, and the 2015 before that. A Google search that brought me to it may have been what first lured me into this site. Thanks, Scott.

I’ve made a few choices that were strongly influenced by those descriptions and comments. We live on Parmenter Road. That in itself would not have been enough to try it, but Scott’s write-up convinced me to acquire Reinette Gris Parmentier scionwood. Our Yellow Bellflower tree was nearly destroyed by a deer and never sprung back to full health before it finally died, but Scott’s ho hum endorsement of the variety matches my overall feelings, so I probably won’t replace it.

I do keep in mind, of course, that the Maryland climate and ours are different. We haven’t had a Fireblight problem, for example, and a few other issues he describes (thank goodness).

We agree on many varieties, but it has also been fun to compare our differences. Scott’s Dyer, for one example, was not “high flavored,” and he removed it. Ours does earn the “high flavor” rating, and it has become a favorite.

I welcome further comments from all and any.


I have a few varieties you mentioned in the original post but most have not set fruit. Kids’ graft is 4-5 years old now. It flowered but set no fruit.

My Orlean Reinette graft was small so it may take a couple more years. My Pomme Gris, Rubinette and Hoople’s were very good but they skip a year this year.

We both are in zone 6. I have not experienced bad fire blight on apples or pears, only a twigs here and there so I count my blessings. We can grow apples that mid Atlantic people have difficulty with. My Calville Blanc has been tasty and productive. While many have gone biennial!!


Those two don’t seem much related at all. Orleans Reinette is more like Roxbury Russet, you probably would not need both of those.

If I have a Kidd’s Orange Red and a Karmijn, do I really need a Rubinette?

I don’t know Karmijn, but KOR is a sweet and Rubinette is a sweet-n-sour so those two are very different even if they share some ancestry.


Look at sneaky @mamuang drawing me into a discussion (again!) during my late spring/summer/early fall forum hibernation. We will have words about this!

My climate may be even more different from Lodidian’s than Scott’s is. I’m cooler at night than he, but have almost no humidity, the summer sun is intense, and I have to irrigate because we get almost no precipitation between mid-May and mid-October. Be that as it may, with respect to the apples in the OP that I grow, my words of “wisdom” follow a similar path as Scott’s.

I’ve grown Karmijn for 15 years. The very first apple it delivered was incredible. Every single apple since that managed to not prematurely fall from the tree (90%) either corked, cracked and rotted, or just rotted. But the potential from that first apple…! I top worked it two years ago to a bunch of other Cox offspring, many of which will probably follow a similarly unproductive arc here, if my Cox apple experience holds true, but I did leave one small branch of Karmijn, because hope springs eternal.

KOR has not been very productive here, but it is as Scott describes, very sweet with some acid and overall a fine tasting apple. Rubinette is far and away the best of the three in productivity and taste. I’m a sucker for “smack me in the face” flavor, and Rubinette delivers. Flavorwise, it has some relationship to KOR, but is so much more. It might be a closer thing with Karmijn, given that apple’s reputation as a high acid, high sugar, high complexity fruit, but it’s a lot easier to grow. Plant it.

I have a third leaf Adam’s Pearmain that hasn’t fruited yet, but have had several crops from my fully biennial Orlean’s Reinette. I can’t imagine they are that similar that you wouldn’t want both in your orchard. OR is a bit of a PITA to grow here, but when it sets a heavy crop, as it has this year, it reminds me just how great it can be. I have only eaten one other apple that resembles it in flavor (it’s unique, even among russets), a misidentified mystery russet that delivered a few excellent apples last year from a small branch. It probably isn’t OR. Anyway, both OR and Rubinette are in my top five apples for eating. If Adam’s comes close to that, I’ll be a happy home orchardist.

I haven’t grown any of the other apples listed in the OP, so I can’t weigh in.


How does one get a tour of that orchard?! Is that the same as the USDA germplasm collection or different?

The year I took the Geneva tour (it was actually the same time John went) I found out about it because Cummins posted about it on their FB page.


Last year Covid and fireblight prevented the open house and walking tour from happening, and now Thomas Chao has retired, so I do not know if there will be one this September or not. If I hear, I will post to Growing Fruit (I promised Tippy I’d do that, but I have yet to hear.)


I’m hoping to get a first taste of Adams Pearmain and Orleans Reinette this fall. Both are fruiting for the first time for me this year. Going by fruit I’ve been able to buy fairly locally, though, Orleans Reinette can be a really exceptional apple in the Northeast. Right up there with Roxbury Russet as my favorite heirlooms that I’ve had the opportunity to sample (and though Scott has much more experience than I do, I found OR and RR to be quite different apples, each distinctive in its own way). I haven’t had the chance to try Adams Pearmain.

As far as growability, neither AP nor OR has been exceptionally vigorous for me, but both have been healthy and more or less trouble-free without spray. AP tends to be a little more on the slender side, and OR is a little more bushy (and tends to respond with a shock of bushy growth if headed back too hard). Both have been relatively precocious for me. AP was my first apple to bloom this year (though I don’t have any really early-blooming varieties), with OR more in the middle of the pack, and both are notably attractive in bloom.

So no champions for Jewett’s Fine Red, aka Nodhead?

Beach, in Apples of New York, made a terroir argument against growing it in NYS, saying it does not develop its high color nor good quality here as it does in its home in Maine and New Hampshire.

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