From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Malus pumila, Honeycrisp
Honeycrisp apple
SpeciesMalus domestica
Hybrid parentageKeepsake × MN1627
OriginMinneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota, 1960

Honeycrisp (Malus pumila) is an apple cultivar (cultivated variety) developed at the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station's Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Designated in 1974 with the MN 1711 test designation, patented in 1988, and released in 1991, the Honeycrisp, once slated to be discarded, has rapidly become a prized commercial commodity, as its sweetness, firmness, and tartness make it an ideal apple for eating raw.[1] "...The apple wasn't bred to grow, store or ship well. It was bred for taste: crisp, with balanced sweetness and acidity."[2] It has larger cells than most apple cultivars, a trait which is correlated with juiciness, as theoretically a higher number of cells rupture when bitten, releasing more juice in the mouth.[3][4] The Honeycrisp also retains its pigment well and has a relatively long shelf life when stored in cool, dry conditions.[5] Pepin Heights Orchards delivered the first Honeycrisp apples to grocery stores in 1997.[6] The name Honeycrisp was trademarked by the University of Minnesota, but university officials were unsure of its protection status in 2007.[7] It is now the official state fruit of Minnesota.[8] A large-sized honeycrisp will contain about 113 calories.[9]


U.S. Plant Patent 7197 and Report 225-1992 (AD-MR-5877-B) from the Horticultural Research Center indicated that the Honeycrisp was a hybrid of the apple cultivars 'Macoun' and 'Honeygold'.[1] However, genetic fingerprinting conducted by a group of researchers in 2004, which included those who were attributed on the US plant patent, determined that neither of these cultivars is a parent of the Honeycrisp. It found that one parent was a hybrid of the Keepsake (itself a hybrid of Frostbite (MN447) x Northern Spy)[10] while the other was identified in 2017 as the unreleased University of Minnesota selection MN1627. The grandparents of Honeycrisp on the MN1627 side are the Duchess of Oldenburg and the Golden Delicious.[11]

The US patent for the Honeycrisp cultivar expired in 2008, though patent protection in some countries continues until as late as 2031.[7] Patent royalties had generated more than $10 million by 2011, split three ways by the University of Minnesota between its inventors, the college and department in which the research was conducted, and a fund for other research.[3][7] The University of Minnesota crossed Honeycrisp with another of their apple varieties, Minnewashta (brand name Zestar), to create a hybrid called Minneiska (brand name SweeTango),[12] released as a "managed variety" to control how and where it can be grown and sold.[3]

SugarBee is an open cross-pollination between Honeycrisp and an unknown variety discovered in Minnesota in the early 1990s.[13]


Honeycrisp apple flowers are self-sterile, so another apple variety must be nearby as a pollenizer in order to get fruit. Most other apple varieties will pollenize Honeycrisp, as will varieties of crabapple.[14] Honeycrisp will not come true when grown from seed. Trees grown from the seeds of Honeycrisp apples will be hybrids of Honeycrisp and the pollenizer.[1]

Young trees typically have a lower density of large, well-colored fruit, while mature trees have higher fruit density of fruit with diminished size and color quality.[15] Fruit density can be adjusted through removal of blossom clusters or young fruit to counteract the effect.[15] Flesh firmness is also generally better with lower crop densities.[15] Bitter pit disproportionately affects honeycrisps, typically 23% of the harvest is affected.[16]

International growth[edit]

As a result of the Honeycrisp apple's growing popularity, the government of Nova Scotia, Canada spent over C$1.5 million funding a 5-year Honeycrisp Orchard Renewal Program from 2005 to 2010 to subsidize apple producers to replace older trees (mainly McIntosh) with newer higher-return varieties of apples; the Honeycrisp, Gala, and Ambrosia.[17][18]

Apple growers in New Zealand's South Island have begun growing Honeycrisp to supply consumers during the US off-season.[19] The first batch of New Zealand-grown Honeycrisp cultivars being introduced to the North American market have been branded using the "HoneyCrunch" registered trademark.[20][21] According to the US Apple Association website it is one of the fifteen most popular apple cultivars in the United States.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Patent PP07197 – Apple tree: Honeycrisp". Google Patents database. Google Inc. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  2. ^ Shanker, Deena; Mulvany, Lydia (8 November 2018). "The curse of the Honeycrisp apple". Bloomberg. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Seabrook, John (21 November 2011). "Crunch: Building a better apple". The New Yorker.
  4. ^ Mann, H; Bedford, D; Luby, J; Vickers, Z; Tong, C (2005-10-01). "Relationship of Instrumental and Sensory Texture Measurements of Fresh and Stored Apples to Cell Number and Size". HortScience. 40 (6): 1815–1820. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI.40.6.1815. ISSN 0018-5345.
  5. ^ "The story of Honeycrisp apple". Minnesota Harvest. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  6. ^ "20 things you didn't know about Minnesota's famous Honeycrisp apples". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  7. ^ a b c Olson, Dan (21 October 2007). "Honeycrisp apple losing its patent protection, but not its appeal". MPR News. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Headed to the apple orchard? Try these 8 recipes". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  9. ^ "Nutrition Facts". December 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Cabe, Paul R.; Baumgaten, Andrew; Onan, Kyle; Luby, James J.; Bedford, David S. (2005). "Using microsatellite analysis to verify breeding records: A study of 'Honeycrisp' and other cold-hardy apple cultivars" (PDF). HortScience. 40 (1): 15–17. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI.40.1.15. ISSN 2327-9834.
  11. ^ Howard, Nicholas P; Weg, Eric van de; Bedford, David S; Peace, Cameron P; Vanderzande, Stijn; Clark, Matthew D; Teh, Soon Li; Cai, Lichun; Luby, James J (2017-02-22). "Elucidation of the 'Honeycrisp' pedigree through haplotype analysis with a multi-family integrated SNP linkage map and a large apple (Malus×domestica) pedigree-connected SNP data set". Horticulture Research. 4: 17003. doi:10.1038/hortres.2017.3. ISSN 2052-7276. PMC 5321071. PMID 28243452.
  12. ^ "SweeTango". University of Minnesota Apples. University of Minnesota. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  13. ^ Nelson, Andrea. "SugarBee causes a buzz". Good Fruit Grower. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  14. ^ "List of polinnation partners for Honeycrisp apple trees". Orange Pippin Fruit Trees. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "'Honeycrisp' apples grown in Nova Scotia" (PDF). Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. April 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  16. ^ Nosowitz, Dan (3 November 2017). "America's New Favorite Apple, the Honeycrisp, Has a Problem". Modern Farmer. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  17. ^ Bain, Jennifer (28 November 2007). "The darling of the apple world". thestar.com. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Orchard renewal program receives additional funding (press release)". Nova Scotia, Canada website. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  19. ^ Country Calendar
  20. ^ Fresh Plaza: Pepin Heights Orchard announces import HoneyCrunch apples from NZ
  21. ^ "Lunds and Byerlys Blog: Minnesota grown...from New Zealand?". Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  22. ^ Apple varieties by US Apple Association

External links[edit]