Gala (apple)

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Malus domestica 'Gala'
Hybrid parentage 'Kidd's Orange Red' × 'Golden Delicious'
Cultivar 'Gala'
Origin New Zealand New Zealand, 1920s
Fruit and leaf detail

Gala is a clonally propagated apple with a mild and sweet flavor. Gala apples ranked at number 2 in 2006 on the US Apple Association's list of most popular apples, after Red Delicious and before Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Fuji (in order).[1] Variety is characterized by a non-uniform skin color.

Appearance and flavor[edit]

Gala apples are small and are usually red with a portion being greenish or yellow-green, vertically striped. Gala apples are fairly resistant to bruising and are sweet, grainy, with a mild flavor and a thinner skin than most apples. Quality indices include firmness, crispness, and sweetness. Gala apples are sweet and aromatic, and can be added to salads or cooked, and are especially suitable for creating sauces.[2]


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.[3] The variety is also an increasingly popular option for UK top fruit farmers. 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[4] 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

Descendent cultivar(s)[edit]

  • Delfloga (Royal Gala × Florina)
  • Jazz (Royal Gala × Braeburn)
  • Envy (Royal Gala × Braeburn)
  • Nicoter (Gala × Braeburn) [5]


Gala apple from South Tirol 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. 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 cultigen[edit]

Royal Gala is a cultigen made from a redder sport of the Gala apple in the 1970s. 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 favour of the darker skinned Royal cultigen.


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 can speed ripening and spoilage and reduce firmness of apples, as with many other fruit.[6]


In the beginning of 2015, Royal Gala and Granny Smith apples from the United States posed some threat of listeria to 4 Canadian provinces Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador. The apples were exported from the US apple company Bidart Bros. and are being further inspected. Listeria is a bacteria that can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, neck stiffness, and can be dangerous to people with deficient immune systems.

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ US plant patent 3637
  4. ^ US plant patent 7396
  5. ^ United States Patent PP17201
  6. ^ Elizabeth J. Mitcham, Carlos H. Crisosto and Adel A. Kader. "Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality". Postharvest Technology Research Information Center. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 


  1. ^ Center for Disease and Control. Center for Disease and Control Retrieved 29 September 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)