It’s my understanding that, yes, there are (at least) two selections out there that are passed off as ‘Whitney’ crab… one is the actual Whitney… the other is one that was evidently received - mislabeled - somewhere along the way and distributed as Whitney… but it’s not.
I’ve not grown either - but know a former nursery owner who’s grown both… but it’s been years since the last discussion I had with him - I don’t recall the differences he noted.
I have a Whitney crab from Stark Bros. It almost certainly is not the same as the Whitney crab that my dad planted when I was a kid. That tree produced sweet, crispy fruit in late Summer. The fruit dropped readily as they ripened, and if not eaten quickly they turned soft and mealy.
The tree I have from Stark Bros. still has fruit hanging now. The fruit are crisp, but not as sweet as those I ate back in the 70s/80s. I have some in the crisper that have been off the tree for several weeks and they are still crisp and juicy. That wouldn’t have happened with the fruit off the old Whitney tree.
I am now convinced that there are at least two varieties out there being called Whitney crab. The one I have I wouldn’t plant again. I am going to request a stick of Whitney from GRIN for next spring. I hope to find out that Whitney is the one I remember from my youth.
I have had two small limbs of Whitney grafted a few years and they finally fruited. There’s only two apples and they are a little smaller than a golf ball. Like to hear your opinion if they are actually Whitney or something else? Sorry about the low picture quality.
I am beginning to wonder if the Whitney crab I got from Stark Bros. may actually be a Wickson. I could see how a labeling issue may arise with the two. The tree I have has a bunch of fruit right now, none have dropped. The Whitney crab I remember from my youth, the fruit would have been ripe and all on the ground by now.
My Whitney crab is running almost a month late this year. Usually they start ripening mid August. This year they still aren’t quite ready yet. My Chestnut crab is running neck and neck with the Whitney. Most years, the Whitneys have all dropped by the time the Chestnut crabs start to ripen.
I know a couple guys within an hour drive who have Whitneys. Both their fruit have been fully ripe for a few weeks at least. My tree labeled as a Whitney has never had fruit ripen in August or early September. It has always been late September or early October. It is clearly not the same variety of tree that my Dad planted when I was a kid. One or the other of those two isn’t a “Whitney”