BLACKJACK Known as early as 1818, but last recorded in 1934. It has been ‘missing’ since. In 2010 Chris and Rebecca Paul told us of their Blackjack tree at their 1730 house at Dunsfold, Surrey, close to the Sussex border. Blackjack has been associated with both counties in the past. The name was given to them by the prior owner who moved there before 1967. The tree is very old and decayed and now much smaller than once known but remains healthy, the sole survivor of an orchard that once ran around the property. The dark red apples are small to large, very hard initially and very late to ripen and can hang on the tree over the winter. The sweetness develops in December and it is a good eating apple, but when cooked earlier the rich flesh keeps its shape. Pollination Group 5



BLACK PRINCE This apple was referred to in the National Apple Register (1971) but was then thought to be the same as the Violette in the National Collection. Black Prince was assumed to be a synonym of Violette, but it is also a distinct variety. A mature (100+years old) tree of Black Prince was found, in 2004, near Wokingham, Berkshire. The owner, Mrs Stickland, was told some 45 years before, by her neighbour, that the tree was a rare old variety called Black Prince. Having carefully maintained the tree over the years, she planned to move and anticipated that the tree would be lost to redevelopment. The property developer, Stan Hetherington, anxious that the tree should not be lost, sought our advice. The plans were developed around the tree and we agreed to propagate and perpetuate the tree. This early to middle season dessert apple is deep red, with the red colouring extending, in patches, deep into the flesh of the apple. It is sweet and pleasant, but the flavour and texture do not last. In 1883 a ‘Black Prince’ was exhibited as a cider apple, by Cranston Nurseries of Hereford, at the National Apple Congress, at the RHS gardens at Chiswick. This is very probably the same apple. Pollination Group 4




BLANC-DUREAU This is the ancient French apple, with an extensive history there, believed extinct but rediscovered by Jérôme Munoz, a nurseryman committed, like ourselves, to the reintroduction of ‘lost’ old fruit varieties, for their continued survival. His nursery, Pépin’Hier, is in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, in the south east. The name Pépin’Hier (Seed of Yesterday) is a clever play on the word Pépinière – a horticultural merchant. Blanc-Dureau was probably Norman in origin and possibly the first solid reference to it, curiously enough, was in England. As ‘Blancdurel’, an old document reveals that Queen Eleanor (of Castile), wife of King Edward I, was so fond of the apple that she arranged for fruit and grafts of it to be sent from Paris to the Royal Gardens at King’s Langley, Hertfordshire, in 1280. The old references give it many names, including Blandurel, Blondurel, Blanc-Dure, Blandureau and Blanc-Durel. It is almost certainly the same is the ‘Blandrill’ recorded in Parkinson’s ‘Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus Terrestris’ of 1629. “The Blandrill is a good apple”. John Rea, in his ‘Flora seu de Florum Cultura’ 2nd edition of 1676, included it in a list, without description. Scions kindly provided by Jérôme Munoz in 2019 were grafted here and a few trees only will be available in 2020. Though yet to fruit here, the old descriptions are of a medium sized apple, a little irregular in shape, pale yellow sometimes washed with brownish red in the sun. The flesh is pale, crisp, very juicy, fine, fragrant and with a good balance of sugar and acid. The flavour is rich and it has always been considered of top quality. Dual purpose, it is ripe from November and will store late into the next year, even June according to some sources.


BLENHEIM ORANGE A late culinary/dessert apple discovered around 1740 in Woodstock, by the local cobbler (some say tailor), George Kempster, growing against a boundary wall at Blenheim Park. He moved it to his garden, where it became locally famous. It was originally named Kempster's Pippin. The Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace approved of the apple and it was renamed Blenheim Orange in 1804. It was widely grown in the nineteenth century, both in Britain and abroad, and was one of the most valued dessert apples. Blenheims are seldom available in the shops today, but remain popular with amateur growers and trees are often found in old gardens and orchards. The fruit has a delicious, sweet, nutty flavour and a firm, rather than crisp, texture. It is good with cheese. Also used for cooking, it has a rich flavour and keeps its shape. It is a partially tip bearing tree. Making an excellent standard tree, it is less good for resticted forms. For espaliers it is worth considering Beauty of Hants which is very similar in nature, being a seedling of Blenheim Orange, though it is spur bearing. The fruit stores until January. It can be slow to start fruiting, but is vigorous and eventually a good bearer. T. Pollination Group 4

BLENHEIM - ORIGINAL Pat and the late Gordon Preston, of Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire, kindly invited us to visit this tree and learn more about it and the history around it, from their extensive knowledge of local history. Minster Lovell is not far from Woodstock, where Blenheim Orange was found. Pat’s mother owned a tree which she and others, locally, called an ‘Original Blenheim’. There used to be more than one in the area. Pat’s old tree, probably planted soon after 1847, is still in good health and Pat also has a Blenheim Orange, planted in modern times and bearing similar fruit, which she is sure is not the same and which is inferior. We return to this conundrum below but first start with some history. The area of Minster Lovell where Pat lives was bought by ‘The ‘Chartists’ – a political organisation campaigning for universal suffrage and increased rights for the working classes. It was most active from 1838 to 1848. The Chartists gave parcels of land, enough for a house and smallholding, ostensibly as benevolence but Gordon and Pat suggest from their historical knowledge that the real purpose was to load the left wing vote in a marginal constituency! Pat’s tree was very old when she came to her property 55 years ago. Gordon and Pat told us that their land was bare field when the Chartists bought it, so the tree cannot predate 1847. A DNA test of the Original Blenheim produced the same profile as the Blenheim Orange in the National Fruit Collection, which is the Blenheim Orange we have here. We have also tested other trees that match Blenheim Orange’s DNA profile but have observed that the fruit is subtley different. Blenheim Orange is just a couple of decades short of 300 years old and apples do have a tendency to mutate. Mutations are not revealed by the DNA test yet they can affect colour, shape, taste etc., for better or worse, and are more frequent when cuttings are taken from a tree, grown from a cutting from a tree and so on. Perhaps the Original Blenheim received its name because it was a first generation tree taken from the original tree while it was still alive. It would have been alive in 1847. We cannot know, but it is certainly a very good apple. T. Poll 4
BLOOD ROYAL Found in Minsterworth, Gloucestershire, it is said to be triple purpose by the Gloucestershire Orchard Group but is better as an eating and possibly cider apple as, when cooked, it is resistant to softening, keeps its shape and does not compete with better cooking apples. It is an attractive, small/medium sized, flattened round apple, with mahogany red skin in the sun and dark green in the shade, sprinkled with pale spots over most of the skin. Ripe in late September or early October, it is crisp, very juicy, sweet, with pleasant acid and richly flavoured. It will last to December, but is best consumed when young. Pollination Group 5
BLOODY PLOUGHMAN A Scottish dessert apple probably originating in the Carse of Gowrie, Perthshire, and first recorded in 1883 when it was exhibited from The Grange of Erroll and Dr. Robertson of Fern Bank House, Erroll, Perthshire. It was supposedly named after a ploughman who was shot for stealing a bag of apples; his wife threw the bag on to the compost heap, and one grew into this tree. A hardy tree bearing apples of deep red over most of the skin and with sweet, juicy pale fleshed fruit, heavily ribbed. Ripe in September, apples will last into November. Another, different apple has been put forward as being ‘Bloody Ploughman’. It has much in common with Malus Niedzwetskyana, the Russian crab, which has deeply tinted foliage, red stained wood and apples with dark red skin and red flesh. This seems to us to be an error and a pitfall to avoid. Pollination Group 4
BLUE PEARMAIN An American dual purpose apple, known before 1800, but with no clear history. It was widely planted in New England, according to Scott, but not particularly suited to the southern states, according to Calhoun. Since at least the start of the 20th century it has been grown in Britain in the West Country, and may have a much earlier domestic history. Scott claimed to have introduced it from America before 1872, but as with some of his claimed introductions, earlier records show it arrived before, such as Hogg’s ‘British Pomology’ of 1851. The fruit is medium sized – sometimes large - with yellow skin, mainly or wholly covered with dull crimson and heavily bloomed with blue-white, when young, hence its name. The shape is round and regular, longish and often becoming conical. Scott describes the flesh as yellowish, with juice plentiful and a mild, rich, aromatic flavour. It is ripe in October and stores to February. Quite a handsome apple. Pollination Group 4
  BOHNAPFEL It was first known in the later 18th century, in the German Rhineland, and had arrived in Britain by 1826, when it was in the London Horticultural Society collection. A late season, large apple, used for cooking, dessert, cider and drying. When cooked it produces a tangy purée. The shape is variable from tall to truncate conic, ribbed at the eye and sometimes on the body. The skin is greenish yellow with an orange brown flush and stripes. The sweet, subacid flesh is firm. Ripe in late October, or even late November, it stores to March. Trees are vigorous and have an upright habit. T. Pollination Group 4    
BOSSOM An old Sussex variety, probably from the Petworth Estate, and first recorded in 1820, when they exhibited it at the London Horticultural Society. It was in the collection catalogue of the LHS in 1826. In the 1842 catalogue it was briefly described as yellow, conical, large, of kitchen use and middle quality, in season from December to January. Lindley and Hogg considered it a culinary apple (though the Apple and Pear Conference of 1934 recorded it as a dessert apple) - large and conical, with green-yellow skin, sometimes russeted and sometimes with a bright red blush. The flesh was described as fine, crisp, juicy and sugary. It was said to assume a fine colour, when baked, and is said to melt perfectly. In 1946 Taylor reported that it was often found in Surrey, but it was assumed ‘lost’ until rediscovered by the late Canon Donald Johnson, of Chichester, several years ago. He kindly sent us some scion-wood. We find it a rather variable fruit, sometimes good for dessert, sometimes a little too sharp, sometimes cooking to a purée, sometimes cooking very slowly and keeping its shape. It is ripe in October and will store to January. T*. Pollination Group 5
BOSTON RUSSET Though frequently still called Boston Russet, the earliest name was Roxbury Russet. Please see that entry.
  BRABANT BELLEFLEUR A famous Flemish or Dutch cooking apple known since the late eighteenth century, and sent to the London Horticultural Society before 1826, by a nursery in Hamburg. It has long been grown in Herefordshire, Wiltshire, Surrey and Kent, among others. An attractive apple of green and lemon yellow, boldly striped with rich red. The crisp, juicy, initially sharp flesh has an intense flavour. It is worth waiting a while after picking for the sharpness to decline. It is a sweet and aromatic apple that keeps its shape when cooked. The tree is late flowering and late into leaf. Crops can be very heavy and it might need thinning to avoid biennial cropping. Ripe in late October or November, storing until April. Pollination Group 7    
BRADDICK’S NONPAREIL Sometimes known as Braddick Nonpareil or the Ditton Nonpareil. Raised by Mr Braddick of Thames Ditton around 1800, it soon became known as a first rate dessert apple which could be used all winter until March. The crisp, juicy flesh is intensely flavoured, sweet, and tangy. The trees have modest growth and were once popular as an espalier edging for beds, as they readily form fruiting spurs. Small to medium sized green apples with some russet and an occasional warm blush. Quite late to ripen, but must be left on the tree until ready. Good crops. T*. Pollination Group 4