Ribston Pippin

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'Ribston Pippin' is a triploid cultivar of apples, also known as 'Essex Pippin', 'Beautiful Pippin', 'Formosa', 'Glory of York', 'Ribstone', 'Rockhill's Russet' and 'Travers'.


This apple was grown in 1708 from one of three apple pips sent from Normandy to Sir Henry Goodricke of Ribston Hall at Knaresborough, Yorkshire; the original trunk did not die until 1835. It then sent up a new shoot and, on the same root, lived until 1928.

Ribston Pippin.

The 'Ribston Pippin' is one of the possible parents of 'Cox's Orange Pippin'.


The apple skin is a yellow, flushed orange, streaked red with russet at the base and apex. The yellow flesh is firm, fine-grained, and sweet with a pear taste. Irregularly shaped and sometimes lopsided, the apple is usually round to conical in shape and flattened at the base with distinct ribbing. Weather conditions during ripening cause a marbling or water coring of the flesh, and in very hot weather, the fruit will ripen prematurely.


A vigorous tree with upright growth, its medium-sized ovate to oval-shaped leaves are a deep green color and distinctly folded with sharp, regular, and shallow serrations. The surface of the leaf is smooth and dull with a heavy pubescence.

It is very slow to begin bearing, and the proper pollinators will increase the fruitfulness. 'Lord Lambourne' has been recommended for a pollinator, as well as 'Adam's Pearmain', 'James Grieve', and 'Egremont Russet'.

'Ribston Pippin' has one of the highest vitamin C contents; 30 mg/100g.[citation needed]

In literature[edit]

The apple appears in a verse by Hilaire Belloc called "The False Heart":

I said to Heart, "How goes it?" Heart replied:
"Right as a Ribstone Pippin!" But it lied.[1]

The apple appears in Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native in the second book, chapter two: "Now a few russets, Tamsin. He used to like those as well as ribstones."[2]

In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Black Peter" in The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle an incidental character is described as a "a little Ribston pippin of a man, with ruddy cheeks and fluffy side-whiskers".[3]

In The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens a character is described as a "little hard-headed, Ripstone pippin-faced man." Later in the novel a clerk "peeled and ate three Ribstone pippins..."[4] In the story "Thoughts about People" in Dickens' Sketches by Boz , a London apprentice is described as having "a watch about the size and shape of a reasonable Ribstone pippin..." [5]

Irish writer Helen Wykham's first novel was titled Ribstone Pippins and had Belloc's poem as its epigraph.[6]

In A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr, a character says, "I've brought you a bag of apples. They're Ribston Pippins; they do well up here; I remember you saying you liked a firm apple."[7]


  1. ^ "A Belloc Sampler". 
  2. ^ Hardy, Thomas. The Return of the Native. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Dickens, Charles. The Pickwick Papers. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Dickens, Charles. Sketches by Boz. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Helen Wykham, Ribstone Pippins. Dublin: Allen Figgis & Co., 1974.
  7. ^ Carr, J. L. (1984). A Month in the Country. Academy Chicago. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-8973-3124-1. 

External links[edit]