Malus ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’

Lindsay is again the writer and I’m the photographer. Lindsay writes:

In contrast to the new up-and-coming apple variety featured on yesterday’s Botany Photo of the Day, today we pay homage to what is arguably one of the most loved heritage varieties, Malus ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’. Raised as a chance seeding by Richard Cox in 1825 at Colnbrook, in Buckinghamshire, England, the parentage of ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ is obscure but thought to be Malus ‘Ribston Pippin’. Malus ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ is distinct in its complex aroma and colour, while the taste is considered by many to be the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. In the UK, Malus ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ accounts for over 50% of dessert apple sales but has never had the same commercial support in North America and is not widely available commercially.

The tree requires more attention than other commercial varieties, as it is particularly susceptible to molding and other common problems. Growers have tried crossing Malus ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ to select its virtues without the problems, and have produced a number of notable varieties such as ‘Ellison’s Orange Pippin’, ‘Holstein’, ‘Ingrid Marie’, ‘Freyberg’, ‘Golden Nugget’, ‘Kidd’s Orange Red’ (which is a parent of ‘Gala’) and ‘Cherry Cox’.

Not only are apples available to taste and purchase at this year’s Apple Festival (web site via the FOGs, web site via the garden), but trees of Malus ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ are available for sale as well (along with over eighty other varieties!): Apple Tree Cultivars for Sale (2009).

Malus 'Cox's Orange Pippin'

22 responses to “Malus ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’”

  1. Elizabeth

    Mmmm… a definite favourite! As is Rubinette!!
    Can’t wait ’till tomorrow!!

  2. Claire B (Saskatoon)

    Oh boy. Wish I lived closer; I’d be there for sure. I really miss the old varieties that I grew up with in Pennsylvania such as Winesap and Macintosh right off the tree instead of after months in either transit or storage.

  3. Natalie Campbell

    My English mother used to rave about these apples! I finally managed to try one when I was in London in 2006: delicious! It would be fun to grow some on our farm. A beautiful apple.

  4. He Who Lives With Yankees

    You should read Pollan’s “Botany of Desire.” He gives a great discussion of the apple.

  5. Tina

    Ah! as an Anglo Canadian who sadly now lives in New Jersey you made me hungry with this pic but I’m off for a visit to blighty soon so will make the most of those Cox’s when I’m there…. Also some of the other fabulous varieties like Peasgood Nonsuch. Mmmm.

  6. Lynne

    Sounds delicious! One of my favorite commercially-available apples here in the United States is Gala, and since this is a grandparent of Gala, there’s a good chance I’d like this one also. I wonder if the trees are available in the US? Living here in the desert Southwest, mold is less of a problem than it might be elsewhere.

  7. kate

    This is so cool, they look delishious!

  8. elizabeth a airhart

    right off the trees of my memories
    i love the old apples now heritage
    well me too it would seem
    i grew up with claries apples
    and golden delicious softer then the red

  9. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    I love the paths these pages lead me to, including the non-botanical ones…
    — thanks, He Who Lives, for pointing me to the book
    — and thanks, Tina, for reminding me to finally dig up the meaning and origins of “blighty” — I very much enjoy that term, it brings me a smile whenever I hear it, especially since I have British in-laws and the resulting connections to, and feeling for, things British.

  10. Cambree

    Looks good!
    I wish there was an apple farm/orchard in my area. It must taste great picked fresh off the tree.

  11. Elizabeth Revell

    Believe me, Lynne, Cox’s Orange beats Gala hollow! As does its parent Kidd’s Orange Red… my brother’s favourite is Gravenstein, but for me: Kidd’s Orange every time.
    Gala? Nah.

  12. brian

    You can read more about the origin of this variety, its various names and its offspring at:
    Also here is the small community park which celebrates this great little apple.

  13. Irma

    Oh this apple is sooooo goooood. The picture makes me drooling! Here in Sweden it is a favourite at this time of the year with its spicy crunchy flesh.
    We used to keep the smallest and most red to tie onto the Christmas tree and then on the 20ieth day after Christmas when we “threw” the tree out we feasted on the then rather mealy fruit. Such fond memories!
    Gravensteiner is also a wonderful apple to both eat and to make the most delicious pies and apple crumbles.
    Gala and the other pumped up new varieties are surely not in the same league.

  14. Thean

    Your picture brings back fond memories. Thank you. A handful of grocery stores in Edmonton used to sell Cox but over the last few years I could not find any. I asked a fruit seller in the local Farmers Market to bring in some but she never did. The closest to satisfy my craving for this wonderful apple is Discovery – a seedling of Cox.

  15. Joyce

    Yummy! 🙂

  16. Irma

    A comment regarding Thean’s observation.
    Here in Sweden we can grow the most wonderful apples that develop their ultimate taste due to our long summers and crisp falls.
    But going to the supermarkets you would not know this. There you can buy just “red” or “green” apples often from the other side of the world at a fraction of the cost of the “real” thing.

  17. Betty Bahn

    C. orange pippin, is the best apple for mincemeat, hands down!
    It is available in the fall at farmer’s market’s.
    There are a couple of heirloom apple nurseries that offer it.

  18. elizabeth a airhart

    thank you brian i enjoyed your link

  19. jan

    Hey, great!
    It is bizarre to see something that is so common in our shops being lauded in countries that don’t see it so often!

  20. chico

    Cambree – check with your local county extension service for “you pick” farms and other info in your area. You might be surprised to learn that there are locally grown apples. I live in Alabama and we have them here.

  21. Pierre Crozat

    “it is particularly susceptible to molding and other common problems”: is this observation valid for Vancouver weather? Does it do better in dryer climates?

  22. Liz Scott Andrews

    Not a cooking apple – never! It’s the perfect eating apple. I’ve lived in the United States for 40 years and never forgotten its perfect flavor and crunchy texture. Perhaps too small in size to succeed here?

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