Menu Close
Log In
Please consider registering
Forum Scope

Start typing a member's name above and it will auto-complete


Forum Options

Min search length: 3 characters / Max search length: 84 characters
Register Lost password?
Cosmic Crisps and Sugarbees
cross pollination
2 Posts
March 11, 2024 - 9:38 pm

I'm interested in trying to grow some apple trees from seed. I like Cosmic Crisps and Sugarbees varieties. Does anyone know if these would cross pollinate? I've hear that Cosmic Crisps might not pollinate with honeycrisps which are a parent of Sugarbees, but can't find anything definitive.

Battle Ground, WA
129 Posts
March 11, 2024 - 9:57 pm

The usual advice that I've seen is not to rely on close relatives for that purpose.  Since Cosmic Crisp and Sugarbee both have Honeycrisp as a parent, the inclination would be to say that it may be spotty at best.  

However if you're going to plant seeds of Cosmic Crisp and Sugarbee, then the offspring won't be clones; instead they will be unique varieties.  In that case it's probably safe to assume that they will adequately cross pollinate.  That's my take on it.

I'm growing Cosmic Crisp and love it!  I planted it in 2019, and it has been a wonderful addition to my orchard.  It has been disease free, and the apples are delicious.  My tree is grafted onto M.109 rootstock, which makes it smaller and more manageable than a standard-sized tree.  If you plant seeds, please keep in mind that the trees can get huge.

John S
2868 Posts
March 12, 2024 - 9:23 am

GH said what I would have said.

John S

52 Posts
March 12, 2024 - 4:29 pm

First of all, every apple from a seed is a new, unique variety just like every child is a new, unique person.  Anything you plant from seed may or may not be a decent apple.

Cosmic Crisp and SugarBee are half-siblings since Honeycrisp is a parent of both.  Pollen compatibility is genetically determined by S-alleles.  There is a good chart online at Firman Pollen that explains the importance of S-alleles.  Here’s a quote, “Every variety has two distinct S-alleles and can be either non-compatible, 50% compatible, or 100% compatible.  Pollen grains are either one S-allele or the other.  Pollen grains that share a common S-allele with the flower are unable to grow a pollen tube through the style and cannot fertilize the flower.”  Cosmic Crisp has the S-alleles S5 and S24.  SugarBee is S10,S24.  Honeycrisp is S2,S24.  As you can see, both Cosmic Crisp and SugarBee wound up with the S-24 allele from Honeycrisp.  They will all partially pollinize each other, but the pollen is only half as compatible as an apple with two different S-alleles.  For example, Melrose is S9,S28.  Its pollen would be fully compatible with all three apples since there are no common S-alleles.  More pollen tubes growing through the style means better chances that fertilization will actually occur.

2 Posts
March 12, 2024 - 10:16 pm

Thank you all for your detailed responses. I really appreciate having that additional information to help me figure out how I want to go about growing apples

798 Posts
March 12, 2024 - 10:52 pm

Thanks Jean, I never knew what governed self-incompatibility.

So if they are half compatible, and are intentionally crossed, if the apple has some plump dark seeds, those are likely fully viable?

Lewis Co., WA
428 Posts
March 12, 2024 - 11:21 pm

By golly, JeanW!,

I have nothing to add to your post, but I feel a need to barge in, and bow in respect to you for your post.  It's wonderful to have people "of your caliber" here on the HOS Forum!  A diversity of contributors provides a diversity of opinions and suggestions.  It's always refreshing to get info from good folks like you!


KissSmileSmileSmileSmile !

52 Posts
March 13, 2024 - 1:25 pm


Yes, fully developed seeds are very likely viable.  Here’s link to the chart at Firman Pollen that I referred to previously.  The chart on the bottom of page 2 explains how S-alleles work. 

Have you ever noticed when you cut an apple in half vertically and one or more carpels are empty of seeds that that side of the apple is not fully developed?  Lopsided apples often result from incomplete seed formation due to inadequate pollination.  Seeds actually control fruit development by producing the hormone auxin, which controls fruit size (among other things).   As you can see on the first page of the flyer, if an apple doesn’t have the maximum number of seeds, it is usually smaller and misshapen.  On the other hand triploids are often seedless but still mostly big apples.  Anna and Liberty are often seedless but still normal sized.  Other hormones at play and parthenogenesis?



Ha, ha!  Thank you.  This stuff is just intensely interesting to me, and I do a lot of research to try to understand it.  My interest in pollination issues started when someone at a show asked me why they never got apples on their three different apple trees even though they all bloomed at the same time and weren’t triploids.  They must have all had the same S-alleles.  I couldn't answer at the time, but now I might be able to tell them whether the S-alleles were the same.

Lewis Co., WA
428 Posts
March 14, 2024 - 7:48 pm

Dear friends,

GH said (3/11/24/'94): "The usual advice that I've seen is not to rely on close relatives for that purpose."....

As I understand it, there are certain apples that simply aren't compatible with one of their parents, even if they're both diploids, or the pollinating staminate plant is diploid and the pistillate plant is triploid.  I find this to be a very nice genetic effort to prevent in-breeding and, thus, reduced genetic diversity.  This is apparently the case with many 'Golden Delicious" apple hybrids in efforts to back-cross one of its seedlings to it, which have failed despite repeated attempts.  

Yield to genetic diversity.  Apparently, it's nature's choice since very ancient times.  Out-crossing provides the opportunity for fascinating new genetic combinations that haven't occurred before.  Long live the wisdom of the natural world!

Reinettes. Smile

Vancouver SW Washington
803 Posts
March 14, 2024 - 10:55 pm

>> apples that simply aren't compatible with one of their parents

I had to think for a minute before seeing you're correct. The babies always have one of (in technical terms) any gamete that will never function to pair with one of their parents' gametes, then that gamete from the baby is effectively in the wrong kind of sexual pairing, and can further be defined as the 'gametophyte' response that exists in the style.

This kind of response is never governed by any environmental conditions either. 

I found this method of a completely different way of breeding for better and healthier set of apple trees that I'm pretty sure you'll want to read about too. The main emphasis is on establishing high quality tetraploid apples that are strong and breed back to diploid apples because of some kind of strange effect that doesn't fit normal genetic rules. It also covers something else completely different you said elsewhere before on these forums of a stronger root invokes less chance of the grafted apple cultivar to being as prone to environmental damage and infections.

Link: 2021/07/31/triploid-apples-an-adventure-into-their-history-breeding-and-use

PS. It's 50-50 that I will make my first trip to the area up north of here that Jean is a part of. I want a triploid apple scion as part of one of these kinds of experiments. I should bring a few scions along of things too.

798 Posts
March 17, 2024 - 5:54 am

Fascinating Jean.  I knew the stuff about the seeds and auxin, but had no idea about what governed compatibility.  The chart is very helpful to visualize the "rules".

I wonder how the purchased pollen they are selling is meant to be applied when used for yield and pack out.  I'll have to look that up.

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
All RSSShow Stats
Marsha H
John S
Top Posters:
Rooney: 803
DanielW: 519
PlumFun: 495
Reinettes: 428
davem: 367
Dubyadee: 241
sweepbjames: 234
gkowen: 218
Larry_G: 196
quokka: 174
Newest Members:
Forum Stats:
Groups: 1
Forums: 4
Topics: 2922
Posts: 16895


Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 0
Members: 1446
Moderators: 4
Admins: 1
Most Users Ever Online: 283
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 59
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)