Gala (apple)

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Malus domestica 'Gala'
SpeciesMalus domestica
Hybrid parentage'Kidd's Orange Red' × 'Golden Delicious'
OriginNew Zealand New Zealand, 1930s[1]
Fruit and leaf detail

Gala is a clonally propagated apple cultivar with a mild and sweet flavour. In 2018, it surpassed Red Delicious as the apple cultivar with the highest production in the United States, according to the US Apple Association. It was the first time in over 50 years that any cultivar was produced more than Red Delicious.[2]

Appearance and flavor[edit]

Gala apples are non-uniform in colour, usually vertically striped or mottled, with overall orange color.[1] They are sweet, fine textured, and aromatic,[1] can be added to salads, cooked, or eaten raw, and are especially suitable for creating sauces.[3]


The first Gala apple tree was one of many seedlings resulting from a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Kidd's Orange Red planted in New Zealand in the 1930s by orchardist J.H. Kidd. Donald W. McKenzie, an employee of Stark Bros Nursery, obtained a US plant patent for the cultivar on October 15, 1974.[4] It is a relatively new introduction to the UK, first planted in commercial volumes during the 1980s. The variety now represents about 20% of the total volume of the commercial production of eating apples grown in the UK, often replacing Cox's Orange Pippin.

Sports (mutations)[edit]

Many sports of Gala have been selected, mostly for increased red color, including the popular Royal Gala. The original cultivar produced fruit with orange stripes and a partial orange blush over a yellow background. Since then, several un-patented sports have been recognized. Additionally, more than twenty sports have received US plant patents:

Date "Inventor" Marketed as Mutated from Assignee Habit Pattern Earlier Color Plant patent number
Oct 15, 1974 McKenzie Gala Stark standard partial blush yellow US plant patent 3637
Oct 4, 1977 Ten Hove Royal Gala, Tenroy Gala3637 Stark standard stripe red US plant patent 4121
May 10, 1988 Creech Scarlet Gala[5] Kidd's D-83637 C & 0 standard blush scarlet US plant patent 6172
Aug 1, 1989 Kiddle Galaxy Tenroy4121 Stark standard stripe earlier intense red US plant patent 6955
Dec 18, 1990 Cooper Treco Spur Red Gala No. 42, Regal Auvil Oregon Rootstock spur stripe red US plant patent 7396
Jul 16, 1991 Fulford Fulford Kidd3637 standard blush bright red US plant patent 7589
Mar 1, 1994 Olsen Obrogala, UltraRed Tenroy4121 Stark standard stripe 2–4 days redder US plant patent 8621
Apr 5, 1994 Waliser Waliser Gala Tenroy4121 Waliser standard stripe 10 days bright red US plant patent 8673
May 10, 1994 Hill Applewaites Kidd's3637 standard blush 2–3 days more complete red US plant patent 8720
Nov 5, 1996 Olsen Olsentwo Gala, Pacific Gala Royal Gala4121 standard stripe 5–10 days distinguishably different US plant patent 9681
Sep 2, 1997 Brookfield Baigent Royal Gala4121 Brookfield standard stripe extremely early bright red US plant patent 10016
Nov 11, 1997 Gale Gale Gala Royal Gala4121 Van Well standard stripe 3 weeks more complete US plant patent 10114
Jun 23, 1998 Fackler Big Red Gala Kidd's3637 Protree standard stripe same US plant patent 10458
Mar 30, 1999 Simmons Simmons Imperial Peace Valley standard stripe 21 days brighter red US plant patent 10840
Jan 18, 2000 Stiekema Stiekema 1 Obragala8621 standard blush red US plant patent 11182
Apr 11, 2000 McSpadden, Jr Caitlin Tenroy4121 Stark standard stripe "earlier" US plant patent 11348
Aug 13, 2002 Black Harry Black Kidd's3637 International Plant Management standard stripe 5 wk. later US plant patent 12842
Apr 29, 2003 Banning Banning Gala Imperial standard stripe intense red blush, darker stripe US plant patent 13753
Jan 6, 2004 Smith Smith gala Tenroy4121 standard stripe yellow US plant patent 14448
May 4, 2004 Weaver Weaver Fulford7589 Adams County Nursery more compact blush bright red US plant patent 14752
Jan 4, 2005 Ligonniere Dalitoga Imperial SNC Elaris standard stripe 3 wk. yellow US plant patent 15465
Aug 15, 2006 Burkitt Burkitt Gala Tenroy4121 BMA Trust standard stripe 10 d. completely red US plant patent 17013
Feb 26, 2008 McDonald El Niño Royal4121 standard intense dark red stripe bright red US plant patent 18512
Jul 8, 2008 McLaughlin McLaughlin Gala, Blondee Kidd's3637 standard no striping or blush 4—6 d. yellow US plant patent 19007
Dec 30, 2008 Fankhauser Alvnia Gala Fankhauser standard stripes "earlier" red, > 95A% coverage US plant patent 19604
Apr 14, 2009 Richard Galaval Galaxy6955 Pepinieres du Valois standard blush intense dark purple brown US plant patent 19909

Unpatented varieties include: Auvil, Imperial

Descendant cultivar(s)[edit]

Gala apple from South Tyrol with PDO sticker.


Gala apples are grown from May through September in the northern hemisphere, but, like most apples, are available almost all year through the use of cold storage and controlled atmosphere storage.[9] Australian Gala are available from late January. California fruit is available until October. While the season usually lasts only 9 or 10 months, they are able to last all year round. However, due to some apples continuing to be grown in some orchards, and the fact that they can be refrigerated for some months leads to the availability of the Gala apple year-round in some Australian markets. These usually taste different (slightly less sweet) from those in season. The UK season begins in late summer (August). Storage makes the UK fruit available nearly year-round as with fruit from other origins.

Royal Gala sport[edit]

'Royal Gala'

Royal Gala is a Gala sport, patented by Stark in 1977, which produces redder fruits than the original cultivar. It is a pink-red dessert apple and is therefore usually eaten fresh. Royal Galas are usually harvested in early to late February in the southern hemisphere. In New Zealand the pinker original Gala has almost disappeared as a commercial apple in favor of the darker-skinned Royal Gala.


The optimum temperature for storing apples is between −1° and 1 °C (30 to 34 °F), and the optimum relative humidity is 90 to 95%. Ethylene gas accelerates ripening (and spoilage) of apples, as with many other fruit.[10]


At the beginning of 2015, Royal Gala and Granny Smith apples from the United States were identified as the likely cause of a Listeriosis outbreak.[11] Listeria is a bacterium that can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, neck stiffness, and can be dangerous to people with deficient immune systems.


  1. ^ a b c "Gala", National Fruit Collection, retrieved 31 October 2015
  2. ^ 2018 Annual Review U.S. Apple Association.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-08-26. Retrieved 2014-02-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ US plant patent 3637
  5. ^ US plant patent 7396
  6. ^ "Delfloga". Government of Canada Plant Inspections. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  7. ^ United States Patent PP17201
  8. ^ Ltd, Orange Pippin. "Apple - Pacific Rose - tasting notes, identification, reviews". Orange Pippin - all about apples and orchards. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  9. ^ McGlone, V.Andrew; Jordan, Robert B.; Martinsen, Paul J. (2002-06-01). "Vis/NIR estimation at harvest of pre- and post-storage quality indices for 'Royal Gala' apple". Postharvest Biology and Technology. 25 (2): 135–144. doi:10.1016/S0925-5214(01)00180-6. ISSN 0925-5214.
  10. ^ Elizabeth J. Mitcham, Carlos H. Crisosto and Adel A. Kader. "Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality". Postharvest Technology Research Information Center. Archived from the original on 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  11. ^ Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Commercially Produced, Prepackaged Caramel Apples Made from Bidart Bros. Apples (Final Update), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, retrieved 31 October 2015

External links[edit]