Cox family apple varieties..recommendations?

I would like to grow some Cox Orange Pippin varieties - I am looking for the best combination of flavor and disease resistance. I live in Zone 5 in Northern Illinois where we have plenty of scab and CAR. Varieties I am considering are:
-Karmijn de Sonnaville

  • Alkmene
  • Holstein
  • Fiesta
  • Cherry Cox
  • Rubinette
    Comments on these or others e.g. Kidds Red Orange etc. would be appreciated!

I thought Karmijn de Sonneville among the finest apples I’ve every eaten. My tastes run to Jazz, Jonagold, Liberty/Macoun/MacIntosh, but I’ll enjoy about any firm, crisp, juicy, flavorful apple with a reasonable sweet/acid balance.

I have Rubinette but haven’t had enough fruit from it yet to say much. Just added Cox Orange Pippin and want Kidds Orange Pippin but don’t have 'em yet.

I am a bit hotter than you. Here is the order of how various Cox children worked out for me from roughly best to worst.

  1. Rubinette - these apples are a bit prone to rotting but overall come through very well. The taste is excellent and sugars very high. On the sour side and less aromatic than Cox. Needs strong thinning to size up well.
  2. Suncrisp - I have only fruited this apple one year but it was a real WOW this summer. It was more crisp, more consistently large and a little more balanced and aromatic than Rubinette. In other words it was better and it may be in the #1 spot next year with more experience. No rots at all either. Did I say WOW yet?
  3. Kidd’s Orange Red - this one is more on the sweet side than the two above, you can tell its Red Delicious parentage is in there. It has more aromatics than the two above. It generally comes through pretty well but my tree is highly prone to biennial bearing which knocks it down a bit. A bit of rotting but not too bad.
  4. Ingrid Marie - first fruits were this summer. It is a very tart apple, perhaps a bit too tart for some people. But the flavor is very good. It has a rough skin highly resistant to rots.
  5. Laxton’s Fortune - a very nice early apple which is a milder version of Cox; not too sour.
  6. Gala - A perfectly fine sweet apple, much better home grown than the grocery version.

OK big gap here, the ones above are keepers and the ones below are not and I removed them.

  1. Queen Cox, Tydeman’s Late Orange, Karmijn, Sunset - all three I had various problems with but never got a reliable take on the fruit before I lost the graft.
  2. Ellison’s Orange - It is too early and turned mealy very fast. It was too intensely (and oddly) anise. This probably would be great in a cooler climate.
  3. Cox itself - it did not do well in my heat, watercore and rot etc.
  4. Holstein - it had similar problems as Cox, with particularly bad watercore in multiple years.

Freyburg is a Cox cross but it tastes more like its Golden Delicious parent. Its also a great apple, one of the best Cox children.


Thanks Mark and Scott for your fast replies. Scott are scab and CAR issues in your area? If so do u mind commenting on resistance or lack thereof of? Finally what zone are you in.

Does anyone else out there have experience with elstar or Fiesta?

Suncrisp vs. GoldRush. I like both but when I have the option, I go for Suncrisp. It is so good.

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Derek, CAR can be pretty bad here. But its primarily cosmetic, it rarely strikes fruit unless the cedar is on top of the apple (I had that in one area and had to remove that cedar). I have a cedar 30’ from some apples now and sprayed nothing on them last summer and while the leaves were spotted I got almost no damage on the fruits. Its only the trees that get it really badly that I take note of variety; I don’t think any of the Cox types have been standing out.

I am in Maryland z7. Click on my face and then click on the bigger face and the page you go to shows people’s zones (less than perfect, I mean to fix it one of these days).

Welcome to the forum, Derek.

I agree with Muddy, welcome, Derek.

Okay, I’m sold. Suncrisp is off patent. Hint, hint .

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Reviving this thread, anyone else want to chime in or contribute?
I harvested Cox’s, some Ribston Pippen, and Starkey.
Rib has a bit stronger flavor, very similar to Cox’s and perhaps less aromatic.
Starkey (possible sibling to Cox’s, rumored to be Ribbon x Black Oxford) has the most appeal for fresh eating, vigorous triploid, and productive without water core issues of Cox’s-a winner up here for sure. Pretty apple, too. Planting more of these…


I got scions last year for herefordshire russet, it’s supposed to be a russet with a very good Cox type flavor but I won’t know for another two or three years

A topic near and dear. I loved Margl initially but it got very scabby this year. Holstein does great here and is a gentle mix of sweet/tart and is easy to grow. Alkmene is a stronger version that has more tart and is also easy to grow. Karmijn, my fav, is the strongest of all but is a bit stinger production wise. Elstar and Rubinette are too young yet. Oddly Lord Lambourne, a more obscure British apple tasted like a Cox to me yet I don’t see any Cox in it’s heritage. That Starkey sounds wonderful as does Black Oxford.


Thanks for the Alkmene report, don’t hear too much first hand experience about it on here. I planted a G11 tree last April, and am curious as to its flavor. What kind of texture does it have and how does it keep? It’s my only Cox type apple.

Alkmene has a nice firm, juicy texture. I never tried to kept them but I have heard they only keep a couple weeks or so. It ripened early to mid September here.
BTW my name Quill is to honor my favorite dog who looked exactly like your dog. I still miss her and her rascally


Thanks, sounds like a good apple to look forward to. Is it considered an early season apple?

Aww, nice story about your dog. Our dog is about 12 years old, he’s quite old now, and his snout is almost all white. When he was a pup, it was almost all black. He appears to be a chow, Shepherd mix. My wife picked him up in a local pound before we even met. So, he’s been on this farm all that time. He gets around well still, will chase an occasional rabbit, but leaves the deer alone. He’s like, “been there, done that”.

He’s an outside dog and has plenty of land to run around on and explore. He’s got a twitchy back leg, it doesn’t happen all the time, and I don’t think he’s in any pain. It doesn’t seem to affect his running. Maybe it’s just some muscle or nerve issues.

He has his little habits, too. When we come home at night after being gone all day, instead of coming to greet us, he’ll jump off the porch, run around the house to the back yard, up the hill, then down the creek bed, and then trot back up the driveway to greet us. It’s funny, it’s almost like he’s doing a sweep of the property to make sure no varmits are in the area for us.


Hmm. Cox children…

I grew my first batch of Rubinette this year only to see the deer strip them away (crybaby face). Fence is getting higher.

My Freyburg graft was placed on Newtown Pippin over Geneva.16. It died this year, and the entire tree languished. Possible freeze damage at the graft union which I un-taped right before a cold snap, or may be decline from a virus or other ailment. Newtown is holding on. Freyburg is kaput.

Crimson Gala, Sun Tan, and Kidd’s Orange Red grafts were added last spring and took nicely. Still waiting on fruits from those…

Last week, I planted Cox’s granddaughter, Sansa. A local orchard grows Sansa, which has become the earliest-ripening of my favorite apples-- crisp, sweet & juicy… like a tarter Gala. I like it better than Lodi and Pristine.

Speaking of grandkids: Last year’s Suncrisp graft continues to grow well (no fruit yet). I’ve tasted Suncrisp from multiple farmstands (and Scott’s place), and it truly is excellent. I swear it has a pear component to the flavor. I notice it every time I taste it, but I have never heard anyone else comment to this effect.


We have several of the Cox offspring and the best for us, after 5 years experience, is Elstar. It is more vigorous and has bigger fruit than Rubinette, and is about 2 or 3 weeks earlier. Holstein is tasty, but slow to bear and not productive so far. The Sansa is really good too, but I didn’t know it was related. Karmijn is not a very attractive apple and is very intense right off the tree, but it mellows in storage. Not a vigorous grower for us.


I chip budded a KIdd’s orange about 6 years ago along with some Macoun, NW Greening, & Cortland all on the same rootstocks. All are now bearing except the Kidd’s Orange. It grew nicely but not a flower yet. Not sure why or if this variety is slow to start fruiting. The tree seems healthy and growing well. I guess I will give it one more season. If it doesn’t flower spring 2018 then I will have to top work it over to something else. Anyone else have problems getting Kidd’s orange to flower?

The leaf on my Kidd’s is also somewhat unusual if the budwood I received was truly Kidd’s orange. The leaves are very silvery and narrow. Quite distinctive look to it.

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Hi Jesse,

When does Starkey ripen for you? Looks like a good apple, but not sure it is early enough here…


Starkey ripens late midseason, end of September/early October here in Maine