Help id an early season apple

There is an old homestead next to one of our fields that has an old apple tree in it. My dad dug up one of the root suckers and planted it in our orchard. I told him he had rootstock that would not come true but it did and produces the same apples as the parent. I don’t think it is a seedling because there are two other trees nearby that produce similar apples. Were apple trees propagated in any other way than grafting on rootstock? The apple is very low chill, loses its leaves in November and starts growing again at the first of the year. It blooms very early slightly ahead of Anna thats grafted onto the same tree but they do overlap some.

Here is a picture of the apple picked today next to Anna. The apple was not quite at peak ripeness and needed to stay on the tree another week. The apples in the sun get a red blush and the shaded ones don’t. They are sweet and crisp but don’t keep well. I live 50 miles inland from Charleston, SC.

Mark, where are you located in the country?

Zone 8

Okay, it could be Dorsett Golden, but looks a little too fat and squatty. And maybe more blush than DG usually gets. Beverly Hills apple has more red blush and tends to have this shape. Those are the only other 2 very early apples as early as Anna that I am aware of. I am betting it is Beverly Hills:

You might try looking at Big Horse Creek Farms website they have pictures of many antique/heirloom varieties that originated in the south. They have a early season section.

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Turkey, that is a great idea. I would send photos to them, and see if they can help you to identify the apple. Bet it is an old southern heirloom variety grown on its own roots.

I looked through their early apples but did not find one that matched, I may email them photos.

Mark, if you find a probable name for it, please let us know.

Your post and pics made me happy. It’s good to actually see that there are varieties of apples that can be grown here that look (and hopefully taste) good.

Could be Shell of Alabama, which here in So. Calif. is about the stage yours are. Try slicing and baking one of them, the slices should remain very firm if it is indeed Shell. It resembles Dorset Golden, but the apples hang on the tree much better and don’t turn mushy once they color up; they also don’t get the “blocky” shape.

Shell of Alabama looks very similar but my apple is more fat than long, otherwise very much the same.

If your apple grew true from the roots of the original tree, then it is most likely a seedling planted long ago, not a named variety, don’t you think?
Plenty of folks in the old days planted seeds, then kept the tree if they turned out good.

I would agree but two other people nearby have what appears to be the same tree. I guess they could all be similar seedlings or maybe they did what my dad did. Can an apple limb be rooted easily?

It’s a great tasting sweet apple but really too low chill for us. It has started blooming end of Jan. first of Feb. and most of the flowers get hit by frost. Last year was consistent cold with no warm spells and we had a good crop. This year again most flowers were killed.

Shape, size, and color on Shell is highly variable; the best test is still baking a slice to see if it remains decidedly firm, as opposed to Anna and Dorsett, which remain firm but tender. It is as low chill as both Anna and Dorset, and is usually suitable only for areas that do not freeze in the spring, as it blossoms in January. It dates from the 1800s, while Anna and Dorset are 1950’s vintage. If the tree is very old, it is most likely Shell, especially in your neck of the woods.

Thanks, I think you are right the variety.