What is this apple, really?

This year was the first that several varieties of apples actually made fruit. Many of them were in their fourth leaf, a few a bit older. It was the first time I had gotten to try many of these varieties. All in all a great year in the orchard.

However there is one tree which was supposed to be a Mac, that I have my doubts that it is. This tree is probably 6-7 leafs here and just started fruiting a year ago. Last year critters got all the apples so I did not have a chance to try them. This year I bagged a few and we got a dozen or so fairly nice apples. However it seems pretty clear that these are NOT McIntosh apples that it is producing. First and foremost, the blossom end of the apples is not smooth and rounded like Macs, they have the five points similar to a Delicious but not as pronounced. And the flesh and coloring is more like a Honey Crisp than a Mac. Take a look at the pic (hopefully it made it). A very nice apple, just not what I was expecting (good Mac apples are virtually non-existent out West in the stores, that’s why I was trying to grow some).

Any thoughts as to what variety apple this might be? And should I contact the nursery and tell them they sent the wrong tree?

It’s a dead ringer for Esopus Spitzenberg, which would mean you are fortunate indeed.

Steve, those are very pretty apples. They have a look that practically begs to be eaten.

I’m not one for ID’ing apples, but if they taste anywhere near as good as they look, why not have someone send you some Mac scion wood and graft that onto a tree or more? You’d get quicker production than from planting a new tree, and get to have your apples and eat them, too. I know from too many experiences that it’s disappointing to find, years down the road, that a tree is not what you paid for. In this case, though, I think you can make a double win out of the situation.

Reminds me of a Winesap.

Looks exactly like the Sweet Tango I ate this morning. Maybe you got lucky and they accidently sent you a patented tree. Lol. Nah I doubt it.

Here is a picture of my tango.

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The white dots are what make me think it to be ES. Check up images of it on-ling. Winesap is much more common in the nursery trade but I don’t believe it has the white dots. It is also a bit more purple.

Harvestman, I’d agree on all accounts (color. pronounced lenticels, shape, stem etc) but Steve’s have a very pronounced depression at the calyx, nothing I find on ES shows that. That is not really something that would be so variable…is it?
Winesap, I would guess, would hold a greater liklihhood (but only barely), because like Alan says, it’s more common in the trade, but it doesn’t really match. The color isn’t really that of the normal winesap either, they normally carry some (if even faint) hue of dull purple. I haven’t even looked specifically at other Winesap characteristics because I’m reasonably certain that it is not Winesap. Winesap does however have pronounced lenticels.

It could literally be one of 500 different apples depending upon where you bought it. Where DID you buy it?

Alan, does Steve’s Z5 ripening time sound about right to you for ES?
FWIW, I agree with Alan, you might be very fortunate if the apple’s taste is appealing to you. Mac’s imo are inferior to zillions of other apples, but Macs sure smell nice, few can rival them in that regard imo.
Before you eat it, cut it cross sectionally and post a photo along with a taste description etc., a photo with something for size comparison would be somewhat helpful also.
I think it would be kinda fun to try to identify it if it’s not in fact ES. Again, there are ALOT of possibilities as I’m sure you are aware.
Great looking apples Steve!

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I am not great at identifying varieties even when I’m under the tree and eating one- but when I’m doing that I’ve at least got a decent shot. I agree that Winesap has a more purple color. Stayman is not purplish and is fairly common. It forms its fruit in clusters.

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My Jonagold that got the best sun have the same lenticels, calyx, color.

I bought a mac tree from a local nursery and I’m almost 100 percent sure it’s an Arkansas Black. It’s still hanging on the tree, hard as a rock. Macs for two or three weeks are great apples.

Varieties can vary a lot depending on conditions. Also within a single crop they can vary a lot; I don’t see any of the “points” on the bottom of the apple in your pictures, but you mention them so you must be seeing them on some apples.

From the two you have there its a bit tall for Winesaps which are more flattened in shape; its the right shape for Spitz more or less. The pronounced white dots make it likely it is one of those two, that is not a common feature. Overall I would say either Stayman Winesap or Spitz, and you can probably resolve that one by where it was purchased from, Spitz is less common (Winesap is even less common, usually its Stayman Winesap sold today). If it was purchased from a place with many antique varieties it could be an obscure variety.

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Or even from a place who purchased trees from a supplier who grew trees for another retailer who sold antiques. The mixup could occur in the supply chain. I’m not sure how many contract out their growing operations, but I recall a few posts here indicating that at least some do.

Here’s an comparison of Stayman and Winesap. I know there have been threads in the past about this and the distinctions between all these variations are confusing to me. There’s also Improved Winesap, in fact, I have it, but it hasn’t fruited yet.

improved winesap photo. Does seem to have the more pronounced depression at the calyx and conspicuous lenticels. Coloration is I guess fairly accurate. Again, mine hasn’t fruited yet, so I’m just going by this photo from Stark’s.
Mine didn’t come from Stark’s but it is on dwarfing rootstock and it seems as though that might be all Stark’s sells it on as well.
The previous photos of both Stayman and Winesap are in line with what I’m familiar with, but there are many conflicting photos out there. Many seemingly well beyond normal variation to me.

Improved Winesap:

Esopus Spitzenburg:

Most likely your is Apple “ Elise “, a few weeks ago I picked those fruits.
This Apple contains Hypoallergenic properties.
a few pictures of my apples five different varieties

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I looked up other Elise photos online (few to be found) and I agree, it’s a total match on all points for identification as I see it. Some of the apples (not all) in some photos even showed apples which displayed the “points” that Steve mentioned.

Thanks everyone for the ideas.

I’d agree, it does look very much like Elise, at least from the pictures. The only reason to doubt it is, is the timing. Orangepippin.com lists Elise as being released in 2011, and I planted this tree several years before that (still trying to find the receipt from that purchase so I can fix the year it was planted, but probably 2007 or 8).

The apples do look very much like the pics of Esopus Spitzenburg Appleseed70 posted above. And close to the pics of Improved Winesap, but not as red.

Regardless of what variety it is, it is certainly the best apple to come out of my orchard. When I mentioned to my family that I was thinking of grafting some real Mac they threw a fit, because they thought that meant I was going to cut out this tree :smile: While I might put a branch of mac in somewhere, I have no intention of getting rid of this tree; if anything I will be taking some scions from it for growing elsewhere.

I am going to try and find the receipt/email from the purchase and then contact the seller and ask what other varieties similar to this they were selling that year. I’ll let folks know if/when I find something out.

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Stark’s photos all looked shopped to me Steve, FWIW I’d guess the color is about right. I don’t know about the quality of IW, but Esop has a storied rep as a super duper apple. Sadly, I’ve never had the opportunity to try one.


If you could slice the apple right down the middle from stem to calyx, like in the Esopus Spitzenburg picture from Appleseed, and post them, it would help the ID. There are a number of features that would reveal that vary by variety.

Also a picture that shows the top of the apple and one of the bottom.


Here you go, pics of another of these apples.