Red Delicious

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
'Red Delicious'
Red delicious and cross section.jpg
Hybrid parentage Chance seedling
Cultivar 'Red Delicious'
Origin Peru, Iowa, United States
Rows of trees under hail nets
A pile of 'Red Delicious'

The Red Delicious is a clone of apple cultigen, now comprising more than 50 cultivars, recognized in Madison County, Iowa, in 1880. According to the US Apple Association website it is one of the fifteen most popular apple cultivars in the United States.[1]


The 'Red Delicious' originated at an orchard in 1880 as "a round, blushed yellow fruit of surpassing sweetness".[2] Stark Nurseries held a competition in 1892[3] to find an apple to replace the 'Ben Davis' apple. The winner was a red and yellow striped apple sent by Jesse Hiatt, a farmer in Peru, Iowa, who called it "Hawkeye". Stark Nurseries bought the rights from Hiatt, renamed the variety "Stark Delicious", and began propagating it. Another apple tree, later named the 'Golden Delicious', was also marketed by Stark Nurseries after it was purchased from a farmer in Clay County, West Virginia,[4] in 1914; the 'Delicious' became the 'Red Delicious' as a retronym.[5]

Production decline[edit]

In the 1980s, 'Red Delicious' represented three-quarters of the harvest in Washington state. A decade later, reliance on 'Red Delicious' had helped to push Washington state's apple industry "to the edge" of collapse.[5] In 2000, Congress approved and President Bill Clinton signed a bill to bail out the apple industry, after apple growers had lost $760 million since 1997.[6] By 2000, this cultivar made up less than one half of the Washington state output, and in 2003, the crop had shrunk to 37 percent of the state's harvest, which totaled 103 million boxes. Although Red Delicious still remained the single largest variety produced in the state in 2005, others were growing in popularity, notably the 'Fuji' and 'Gala' varieties.[5][7]

Sports (mutations)[edit]

Over the years, many propagable mutations, or sports, have been identified in 'Red Delicious' apple trees. In addition to those propagated without any legal protection (or cut out because they were seen as inferior), 42 sports have been patented in the United States:

Date Inventor Marketed as Mutated From Assignee Habit Pattern Earlier Color Plant Patent Number
Apr 3, 1934 Shotwell Delicious standard less stripe 2 wk. 3-4 times

US plant patent 90

May 18, 1954 Plough Royalred1805 Richared C&O standard blush 10 d. lighter

US plant patent 1278

Aug 23, 1955 Brauns Red King1811 Starking Van Well standard stripe 2 wk. more complete

US plant patent 1411

Feb 12, 1957 Bisbee Starkrimson Starking Stark spur blush "earlier" similar

US plant patent 1565

Feb 3, 1959 Frazier & Jenkins Starking Elon J. Gilbert standard blush 10 d. brighter

US plant patent 1805

Feb 17, 1959 Hamilton Hamilton Hamilton standard blush 2 wk. darker

US plant patent 1811

Mar 24, 1959 Gilbert Redspur Starking C&O spur blush later brighter

US plant patent 1822

Feb 23, 1960 Hutchinson Top Red3556 Shotwell C&O standard striped 2-3 wk. darker

US plant patent 1916

Apr 5, 1960 Wood Woods, Starkspur2606 Starking Stark spur striped 1 wk. deeper

US plant patent 1930

Sep 24, 1963 Gould Red Delicious Miller&Miller standard blush "early" more intense

US plant patent 2285

Aug 11, 1964 Gilbert Miller Sturdyspur Starking Cons. Orch. Co spur blush "early" dark

US plant patent 2433

Aug 25, 1964 Frank Rypczynski "Frank", Super Starking5569 Starking Stark standard subdued stripes 30 d. fuller

US plant patent 2440

Mar 15, 1966 Cooper Starkrimson or Welspur spur stripe 10-14d. more intense

US plant patent 2606

June 4, 1968 Trumbull Oregon Spur4819 Red King Van Well spur stripe 2 wk. darker

US plant patent 2816

Dec 23, 1969 Diede Starking Stark standard more intense

US plant patent 2956

Feb 2, 1971 Matson Stark Earlibrite5547 Ryan Red Stark standard blush 1 month bright

US plant patent 3025

Mar 2, 1971 Maxam Starking standard blush deeper

US plant patent 3035

Apr 13, 1971 Norton Vance spur 2-3 wk. brilliant

US plant patent 3040

Feb 19, 1974 Coke Rose Red Starking Rose spur blush from start dark

US plant patent 3485

May 7, 1974 Pagnelli Starking Stark spur blush brighter

US plant patent 3541

May 28, 1974 Ward Early Red One4839 Brauns Van Well standard stripe 4 wk. darker blackish-purple

US plant patent 3556

May 28, 1974 Flanagan Starking Stark spur stripe before Topred brighter, lighter

US plant patent 3557

June 11, 1974 Slusarenko unknown Stark standard stripe 4 d. before #2440 red

US plant patent 3567

June 25, 1974 Campbell Red Chief3578 Starkrimson Hilltop spur stripe "earlier" deeper, brighter

US plant patent 3578

Nov. 29, 1977 Silvers Silverspur Hi Early McCormick spur stripe 2 wk. before Hi Early bright

US plant patent 4159

Jan 30, 1979 Craig Oregon Spur spur stripe 2 wk. darker, heavier

US plant patent 4372

Aug 12, 1980 Perleberg Ace Starkrimson or Oregon Red spur stripe 18 d. bright but deep

US plant patent 4587

Jan 19, 1982 Garretson Starking Carlton <spur / dwarf blush bright

US plant patent 4801

Feb 2, 1982 Green Oregon Spur II6190 Oregon Spur Wells & Wade spur stripe 10 d. dark

US plant patent 4819

Apr 20, 1982 Evans et al. Scarlet Spur6190 Oregon Spur Van Well spur blush 2 wk. red stem

US plant patent 4839

Nov 9, 1982 Coke&Smith Super Clone4926M Starking McCormick, Bountiful Ridge spur, dwarfing stripe no change, late bloom light

US plant patent 4926

Nov 13, 1984 Kemp Top Spur5334 Starkrimson C&O spur stripe 5-7 d. deeper, brighter

US plant patent 5334

Mar 26, 1985 Hanners Eve's Delight Spokane Beauty stripe light

US plant patent 5421

May 21, 1985 Jenkins Jenred,5472 Starkspur,5472 Ultrastripe5472 Oregon Spur Stark spur stripe 15 d. more consistent

US plant patent 5472

Sep 3, 1985 Hare Hared,5547 Dixiered,5547 Starkspur5547 Oregon Spur Stark spur blush 15-20 d. dark

US plant patent 5547

Oct 8, 1985 Gonzalez Rico7237 Sharp Red Merleley & al. standard stripe 20 d.

US plant patent 5569

May 31, 1988 Sandidge Super Chief Red Chief spur stripe 18 d. red stem

US plant patent 6190

Mar 28, 1989 Valle Vallee Spur6702 Red Chief spur blush 2 wk. dark red with bloom

US plant patent 6702

May 29, 1990 Sali Sali7237 Redspur semi-spur blush "earliest" purple tinge

US plant patent 7237

Aug 4, 1992 Winkel AW-164,7928 Redchief Inter-Plant Patent Marketing spur blush 5-10 d. brighter

US plant patent 7928

Mar 23, 1999 Deutscher Cumberland Spur10,832 Oregon Spur spur blush 10-14 d. complete

US plant patent 10832

May 4, 2004 Burchinal Adams Apple, Burchinal Red Delicious14,757 Oregon Spur II spur blush immediately more uniform, deeper, purple, bloom

US plant patent 14757

Unpatented sports[edit]

Well-known but unpatented sports include:

  • 'Chelan Red', which has been described as having oxblood red fruit
  • 'Hi Early'
  • 'Houser'
  • 'Mood2433' or 'Starking', which colors about 2 wk before "standard Delicious"1411
  • 'Richared' - brighter red than standard, blush, not stripe 1278
  • 'Ryan'
  • 'Sharp Red'
  • 'Spokane Beauty'
  • 'Wellspur'

In 1977, the application for #4159 noted the "starchy and bland taste of some of the newer varieties."

The plant patent for #4926 promoted the sport as a dwarfing interstock, a dwarfing rootstock for pears, or to produce "crab apple"-sized 'Delicious' apples.


  1. ^ Apple varieties by US Apple Association
  2. ^ Higgins, Adrian (August 5, 2005). "Why the Red Delicious No Longer Is". The Washington Post. 
  3. ^ Leona (Lee) Novy Jackson, "Delicious Apples and Their History"[1], Apples, Apples Everywhere—Favorite Recipes From America's Orchards. ISBN 0-930643-11-9. Images Unlimited Publishing. Maryville, MO.
  4. ^ Mulcaster, Glenn (November 3, 2009). "History of a Golden Opportunity.". THE AGE Epicure. The myth-making in US horticulture that consigned Johnny Appleseed to caricature has coloured the background of the 20th century’s most enduring apple. 
  5. ^ a b c Higgins, Adrian (August 5, 2005). "Why the Red Delicious No Longer Is. Decades of Makeovers Alter Apple to Its Core.". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-07-27. The reliance on Red Delicious helped push Washington's apple industry to the edge in the late 1990s and into this decade. Depressed prices for Red Delicious, weaker foreign markets, and stiffer competition from abroad, including apple concentrate from China, contributed to major losses in the nation's apple industry, which mounted to $700 million in 2001, according to the U.S. Apple Association. The industry has recovered somewhat since then, in part because reduced harvests have buoyed prices. 
  6. ^ Egan, Timothy (November 4, 2000). "'Perfect' Apple Pushed Growers Into Debt". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-02. Losses piled up. And now the bill has come due. Last month, Congress approved and President Clinton signed the biggest bailout in the history of the apple industry, after the government reported that apple growers had lost $760 million in the last three years. ... In trying to create the perfect apple for major supermarket chains, these farmers say, they may have sacrificed taste to cosmetics. The growers say their story is like a fable with lessons for how the nation produces its fresh food. 
  7. ^ Sarah Yager (September 10, 2014). "The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 10, 2014.