Selecting apple varieties with

The Apple Identification program was developed by Lori Brakken as a tool for the identification of apple varieties. One of the uses is at fall fruit shows where people bring in bags of apples to be identified. Often they have acquired trees on their property planted by the previous owner, or they have a favorite apple that they ate as a child and never learned the name of. The Apple Identification program is now hosted at

But there is another use for this online tool that is useful when selecting new apple varieties to plant. Let’s say you want to select a variety that ripens early, is large and crisp. Here is how to search for such a variety using

  1. Point your web browser to
  2. Select “Very Early Season”  and “Early Season” for the Harvest Period.
  3. Select “Crisp ,Breaking” for the Flesh (Texture).
  4. Select “Large” for the Fruit Size.
  5. Click on the button labeled View Matching Varieties.


Of all the varieties currently in the database, only one is early, large and crisp:

Duchess of Oldenburg

An attractive early-season apple, originating from Russia in the 18th century, and now quite widely grown in northern Europe and the USA.

ID photo for Duchess of Oldenburg

On the topic of selecting varieties, an excellent article on the topic can be found the February 2014 edition of the Urban Scion Post newsletter. Look for “Starting Out: How to Decide What to Buy” by Marilyn Tilbury.

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