Saving Old Scottish
Heritage Varieties for the Future
Finest Apples, Pears, Plums, soft fruit & nuts
We have listed below lots of great Scottish fruit varieties to enjoy growing and eating. Or you may like to just enjoy the poetic names! We are adding information and tasting notes to help with choices - but please ring to discuss - very happy to help you choose.
Taste notes are subjective - and different apples seem to vary greatly in taste and performance at different times. Also people have different tastes. Let us know what you think ?
The Bloody Ploughman. A tasty apple and popular not least coz of its gory history.
Scottish Heritage Fruit Trees
- the Finest Fruit Trees
Allington Pippin - Lincolnshire, 1884
Late season eating apple November - December. Intense taste, keeps well (with good disease resistance), and a very clean fruit.
Ashmead’s Kernel - Gloucester around 1700
Raised by Dr. Ashmead, a physician. Long highly valued by connoisseurs. Scab resistant. A russeted yellowish-green fruit, sometimes flushed orange, with a sweet-sharp 'acid drop' flavour.
Beauty Of Moray / Aug - Sept.
Scottish, 1883. Makes well-flavoured sauce. Grew well with John Butterworth in Ayrshire and originating from Gordon Castle. Flat-round, greenish-yellow fruit with russetting.
Bloody Ploughman / Sept - Oct.
Scottish/ Carse O Gowrie, 1883. Blood red, conical, and delicious fruit. Named after a ploughman shot for stealing one from Megginch estate. On finding the apples, the ploughman's wife threw them on to a rubbish heap and one of the seedlings that emerged was rescued and subsequently named.
Cambusnethan Pippin / Oct - Nov
Excellent Scottish Eater. Arose either in Clydesdale around 1750 or possibly earlier in Stirling. According to David Storrie "an excellent scab-free desert apple popular in both the east and the west." Really nice firm apple with a nutty taste.
Clydeside / Mid season cooker
Sent from Ayr to National Collection in 1945. It is a reliable performer, with good-sized, clean fruit. Makes a good quality, juicy puree. In taste tests it proved surprisingly nice to eat. Good round flavour with shades of sunshine, haymeadows, and is quite soft and sweet.
Golden Pippin / Oct-Feb 1683
Important historic variety on 2 fronts – it was described in Scotland’s first gardening book by John Reid, written in 1683, as ‘the best apple for Scotland’, and it was the first variety to be used for deliberate cross-breeding, by Thomas Andrew Knight in 1800. It is a healthy variety with small, russeted fruit possessing an intriguing "acid drop" flavour.
Irish Peach / Aug.
Ireland, possibly Sligo 1819. Best eaten from tree, a juicy apple on the sharp side. Attractive small fruit, red flush over yellow.
Scotch Bridget / Oct-Dec.
Arose Scotland, 1851. Much grown here and in Cumbria in the past. Conical, ribbed fruit with rich creamy crisp flesh. Can a good eater in Glasgow but only in a good summer.
Hawthornden / Oct-Dec. Culinary apple
Raised by Drummond of Roslin in 1780, it was described as one of the most valuable and popular apples in cultivation because it was healthy, vigorous, and an early abundant bearer.
Tower Of Glamis / Cooking
Arose Scotland, probably Angus before 1800. Large fruit cooking to sweet puree - in the 1870s it was reported in Clydesdale and the Carse of Gowrie. It is a hardy fruit and does well across Scotland.
James Grieve - fine eating apple
First recorded in 1893. Early and delicious (came top in our recent kitchen table trial). The apple prefers north of UK and grows successfully in Glasgow as well as the West and East coast. Fruit best eaten quickly as it bruises easily. A bit scab prone on west.
Galloway Pippin / eating apple
Galloway Pippin is an old (1871) Scottish dual purpose apple. Delicate and sweet in flavour as an eater soft texture - probably best used early as a cooker.
Coul Blush / Sept-Nov
Britain’s most northerly apple variety raised at Coul, Ross-shire in 1827. Gold with faint flush. Sweet, soft cream flesh. Also makes good sauce.
Oslin - Arbroath Pippin / ripens Sept,
One of the best eating apples. Known since 1815 but probably much older, associated either with Arbroath Abbey or Lindores Abbey, Newburgh, possibly originally French. Slightly scented, rich, distinctive taste with hints of aniseed and cantaloupe melon.
Liberty (New York)
A very clean and amazing looking apple. It is good for eating and juicing.
Devonshire Quarrendon / Aug
Arose Devon or France before 1670. Widely-grown throughout Scotland in 19th century. Very sweet and pretty with a dark crimson flush on yellow background. Eaten early, with a good, strawberry/pineapple flavour. Excellent for a child’s lunchbox.
Wheelers Russet / late season eating apple
Dessert Jan - March. Gloucester 1720 - also known as Lady’s Lemon in Clydesdale 1795. Very long history of growing in Scotland. Vigorous and quite prolific.
Arose Melrose Abbey before 1831. Most popular apple of Tweedside Orchards in 19th Century. Large, ribbed, green, becoming pale yellow. A good choice for colder districts.
Some fine Heritage Apple Trees Recommended for Beauty, Taste, and Reliability in Scotland.
Blenheim Orange / late season eating apple
Blenheim Orange was first described growing near Woodstock, Oxford in England, 1740. Also known as Kempster's Pippin after Mr Kempster who found it. Better in East Coast of Scotland and needs a sunny location to ripen.
Discovery / Aug - Sept
Fine early eating apple with characteristic red blush through flesh. Founded in 1949 and is a seeding of Worcester Pearmain. An absolute favourite of children and very reliable cropper. It does not keep well, thus pick and eat right from the tree!
Doing well in various sites in Scotland, such as Dunkeld, Perthshire. Crisp. A powerful taste that is both sweet and sour, despite an unassuming exterior - shades of natural yoghurt. Makes a big impression!
Tydemans Early Worcester / Eating apple
First grown at Malling Kent. Tydeman's Early Worcester is an early season apple which is very juicy and sweet with a hint of strawberry flavour.
Rosemary Russet / Desert apple, Late season
Rosemary Russet (1831) is a very clean growing apple with a lovely balanced flavour. Victorian pomologist Robert Hogg called it "A most delicious and valuable dessert apple of the very first quality". It grows well with me on the West Coast.
The Laxton Brothers Nursery loved great names and grew great apples. The Fortune (1904) does well across much of Scotland and tastes great. A personal favourite eating apple.
Sunset / Cox type eating apple
Sunset (1921) is a seedling from Cox’s Orange Pippin, though it is much easier to grow. Disease resistance is far better, and cropping is good on the West Coast. Makes fantastic juice and keeps well in common with many late season apples.
Egremont Russet / eating apple
Sussex c 1850 Best known russet, grows very well across Scotland. Generally russets keep well and have disease resistance - the russet skin is thicker and protects the fruit - and Egremont is especially clean. Great taste, sweet, and well balanced.
Fiesta / eating apple
Fiesta is a Cox style apple variety from East Malling Research Station in Kent (1970s). Good even cropper and late season. The apple has a refreshing and clean palate without being too acidic. In recent taste tests, it has been described as having a good crunch but smooth.
Katy / attractive eater
Katy is a superbly attractive apple, which originates from Sweden (where it is known as Katya) and as such is well-suited for growing in colder climates. It was developed in 1947 at Balsguard as a cross between James Grieve and Worcester Pearmain - a good early apple (September) and looks fantastic on the tree. Toffee apple taste - perfect for a child’s lunchbox.
Ribston Pippin / Flavour to Savour
A personal favourite - a delicious late desert apple discovered in Yorkshire. The seeds thought to have been brought from Rouen around 1688 - and the original tree blew down in 1810. A slightly russeted skin and intense flavour - a connoisseur’s apple. Keeps well into the spring. A wonderful variety.
Red Falstaff / Eating apple
A newer (1960’s) variety - disease resistant, hardy, and good for pollinators (they produce loads of blossom for bees and other pollinators). A cross of James Grieve and Golden Delicious. Overall, it is a good, reliable, trouble-free apple variety, making it well worth growing.
Red Windsor / Eating apple
Easy to grow and a reliable, modern apple variety. Good disease resistance. In taste it is robust, crisp, tangy, roaring with complex flavour, good with cheddar, and a remembrance of apple bobbing and autumn.
Worcester Pearmain / Eating apple
Worcester Pearmain (1874) is an early/mid-season English apple, originating from Worcester. Hardy reliable and heavy cropper - and frost resistant - making it a good bet for Scotland’s colder climate.
Scottish Heritage Cooking Apples
East Lothian Pippin / cooking
First described in 1883. Clean and pleasant apple, which fruits prolifically. It is a medium sized apple that cooks to a juicy puree. Pleasant but tart as an eater.
Scotch Dumpling / cooking
Mainly a cooker but can be eaten or juiced too. Citrus taste, delicate taste (with hints of cucumber). Skin bitter and best eaten peeled. Large apples cook to a nice puree.
Maggie Sinclair / Clyde Valley - age unknown
Attractive healthy and prolific cooking apple that does well in Clyde Valley and West Coast. From recent taste tests, it has been described as quite sweet with a thick skin and slightly rough texture.
Heritage Cooking Apples
Cooking apples are really rewarding and tend to be more prolific than eaters - and of course make exceedingly good apple tarts! Also some like the Arthur Turner variety also are good for eating or juicing.
Keswick Codlin / 1790 Lancs
“found among a rubbish pile growing behind a wall” A useful midseason cooker which does well in Cumbria and South-West Scotland. Bright citrus taste that is both sweet and sour. Also, it breaks down when cooked to a brisk sauce.
Howgate Wonder / Culinary apple
Large late cooker (1915) raised on Isle of Wight and is a heavy cropper, which produces attractive fruit that stores and cooks well. Very successful and recommended in Scotland.
Arthur Turner - Cooking apple (or is it!)
Buckinghamshire / 1912.
Healthy and reliable in much of Scotland including Ullapool and Tarbert. Large fruit. "Falls" on cooking, needs little sugar, good for baking. In recent blind taste tests comments - “mellow, sweet, fantastic eating apple - an apple pie without the pastry. Wasted as a cooker!” But that said - it is a good cooker too.
Well known late keeping eater grown successfully in many parts of Scotland, Raised 1809, Nottinghamshire. The trees are very vigorous - and have a characteristic spreading shape (typically good for tree climbing). One of the best cookers. Also good for juices and used in many UK ciders.
Lord Derby / Culinary apple
Cheshire, c 1850, A great prolific cooker variety that grows well across Scotland. It grows on a compact tree: a main problem is stopping it from falling over under the weight of fruit!
Finest Plums And Damsons
Below are some top plums that grow well in Scotland. We are adding information and tasting notes to help with choices - though feel free to ring to discuss options as we are very happy to help you choose.
Please note that taste notes are subjective - and different plums seem to vary greatly in taste and performance at different times. Also people have different tastes. We welcome any taste notes or information about the various varieties.
Plums can only be pruned in Summer as Winter pruning can led to disease problems.
Discovered in a garden in Sussex 1819. First grown commercially in Sweden in 1849. It is a classic eating plum as well as a good choice to grow in most locations. Crops heavily. Often needs thinning and branches need support - as the crop is heavy. Hard to beat as a productive plum.
Raised by Thomas Rivers in 1874, is still the best early plum for culinary use, ready early August. It is a prolific bearer of juicy, delicious blue-black plums with yellow-green flesh. It forms a fairly compact, upright tree. It is a reliable, hardy variety that can succeed in shade and is usually frost-resistant.
Early Rivers Plum
The best early eating plum, that is also a good dessert when fully-ripe. A blue-purple fruit that is hardy and prolific. Reputedly can also be used as a cooker or in the damson recipe below. We never have any left as they are always eaten quickly!
Marjorie’s Seedling (October)
Frost-resistant, large, black cooking plum that can be eaten when fully ripe. These are growing successfully at Dunkeld and taste pretty good.
Shropshire Prune (Damson) September,
Small, blue-black fruit, with an excellent flavour when cooked.
Merryweather (Damson) August / September
Heavy cropping cooking damson, and makes good damson gin too. Recipe courtesy for Jan (a retired minister)...
How to make Damson Gin
To make Damson Gin, assemble 3 lb damsons, 3 bottles gin (any old gin will do), and 3 lb sugar. Prick the damsons and add to sugar and gin. Shake every day until sugar dissolves and leave alone for 4-6 months.