In researching the apple cultivar ‘Reinette de France,’ I frustratingly have found that name is used as a name or synonym for more than one variety. I was hoping some of the French apple enthusiasts here might grow it and, if so, describe what your ‘Reinette de France’ is like.
If, by chance, you also know if the cultivar that GRIN has as ‘Reinette Franche’ and can differentiate the two, I would be appreciate your thoughts on the the latter even more.
Thanks in advance for any experience you have to share.
Reinette Franche is a classic old French apple, it is described in Leroy which is the classic French text. To confuse things it was commonly called French Reinette in the US. Reinette Franche is supposed to be a very good apple; I had it growing quite a few years ago but the tree died and I never replaced it. It is a yellowish apple that often has a bit of russet. I had the Geneva (GRIN) version of it and I think its the same as Leroy’s but I never got a positive ID myself.
“Reinette de France” is much less clear what it means as several different apples go by that name. I think by far the most common one circulating under that name is the same as Orleans Reinette: there is a “Reinette de France” quite popular in Belgium which has OR as a listed synonym (and, it looks exactly like it too). There are some other apples with the name Reinette de France that are in France today, an all-russet one and a non-russet one, and I am not sure they ever made it to the US. So my educated guess is a variety of that name in the US will be the same as Orleans Reinette.
I have grown out many of these old French apples and probably 3/4 matched the classic variety I expected, and 1/4 were something else. There are lots of renamings/mislabelings/etc that make it challenging.
Scott, thank you for the helpful reply. The information that I’ve seen about the specimens in the Royal Fruit Collection at Brogdale (an analysis based on a comparison of a set of genetic markers) is consistent with that collections’ ‘Orleans Reinette’ and ‘Reinette de France’ being similar be not identical: It reported they were both triploids but did not identify the two cultivars as indistinguishable (based on the markers).
Ah, yes thats a good place to look for information. Many of the European apples in the US came through the UK so it is often their names which match most closely. I am pretty sure our Orleans Reinette came through the UK since that variety is very popular under that name there but its uncommon on the continent. So, the Brogdale and GRIN (and US in general) varieties of those two are very likely the same. Looking into GRIN it looks like their Reinette de France came from Belgium, which is also not a surprise as that is the main place an apple by that name is popular. The Reinette de France in the Brogdale collection came from France and not Belgium. But, there is still a pretty good chance the one they got from France is the same one popular in Belgium. So, the US de France and Orleans I would be much less inclined to think are identical now. Still, they do appear to be closely related. I call all of those types “yellow flesh” apples, they have yellow flesh, are very sweet, low aromatics, and often have rough or russet skin. Court Pendu Plat might be the progenitor of that whole school. I have grown many of these yellow-flesh apples and I find them all very similar in taste. Note I don’t think Reinette Franche is in that school.
Thanks for your additional thoughts. I think that I’ll forgo adding R. de F. to my Orleans Reinette and hopefully will be able to add Reinette Franche.
That’s an interesting hypothesis; both Orleans Reinette and Champagne Reinette (another reported syn of R. d. F. in GRIN) do seem to bear a striking resemblance to Court Pendu Plat in many characteristics.
It will be nice in a few years when genetic analysis of the major fruit collections is publicly available, not only to disambiguate and establish lineaages, but to help amateurs interested in breeding.
I would guess that the top one is mislabeled, it is too different. But sometimes growing conditions make a major difference. The 2nd one (picture actually from Geneva repository, lifted by Pomiferous) doesn’t seem too far off.