Went hiking in Tolowa Dunes State Park near Smith River - Northern California coast, a few miles from Oregon border. Ran across a very old apple tree, next to an old walnut. Perhaps an old homestead site. Apples are pretty tasty, firm, with no insect damage thus far (I've eaten two).
Any guesses on the variety? I'll see if I can sprout seeds from the best ones.
Sure wish I had the breadth of knowledge that Nick Botner had. There are just so many apples that look so similar at some point in their maturity. I find myself observing numerous and various apple trees -- both cultivated and spontaneous -- but I just don't have the experience to assess them as to variety or potential parentage. Generally, the only option for the curious is to propagate them, wait a few years, and then try for an ID. Sadly, those of us who have grown up with the piddly diversity available in stores are at a profound disadvantage. That's one of the many reasons that I lament the demise of the HOS.
Jafar and I have been teaching the grafting classes for years. When I noticed he was at the apple ID table, I came over and talked to them. That's when I realized how advanced the skill of apple ID is. I am willing to hazard a guess, or say what I think it looks like. However, I have never been on an apple ID team, and I don't think I ever will, because it is that technical of a skill. My hat's off to apple ID people. I appreciate your skill, and I realize that I am a long ways from achieving it.
Joanie Cooper and Shawn Shepard had been a large part of the evolution of the I.D. Team at the Home Orchard Society fall events . They continue in that ID capacity along with all the farm work at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Molalla OR. There is an informal network of such pomephiles regionally as well as nationwide. Although the photos are great, many examples, size, age of trees and such, I have observed that having the examples in hand, to examine, dissect, and peruse the aspects of color on color, lenticel prevalence, shape depth of cavities, seed capsule; all that and the more that I don’t know to consider, oh yah, there’s textures and taste too. Difficult at least with out the samples in hand, unless it’s something someone knows intimately out of hand. Accuracy for cataloging, includes going to the old and new texts/books, watercolor collections and text descriptions.. I certainly don’t have that kind of patience. But I can see the payoff when you get something good (rare or thought lost/extinct). Or just really good.
Nice apples, really pretty. That’s all you’ll get from me. But if you find yourself visiting there next year and have a serious burning desire to get em ID’d, you could gather up some samples, take or send them over to the Temperate Orchard Conservancy. Uh, there’s properly an ideal way to store and package and mark your samples with your gps coordinates being a good start, I think. It’d be best to call Joanie at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy to get particulars.
Thanks for the thoughts and advice. I agree that reaching out to the TOC with samples would be the smartest move. However I don't have a burning passion to know the variety, I'm just mildly curious.
Speaking of samples, there are two left in my kitchen (in Camas)... 🙂
I'd say they are 2-3 weeks from being fully ripe. They are surprisingly firm. Also surprising that they have absolutely no interior insect damage. There are a few surface marks, but those are only 1/8" deep. I would expect an untended apple to have a lot of insect damage. But perhaps its isolation protects it.
I have been saving the seeds but there are very few. Again I suspect this is due to isolation.
I was also surprised that it seems relatively happy growing in a sand dune.
Was that old walnut tree producing walnuts? I always wondered how far wind pollinated trees like walnuts have to be from any companions to fruit.
I did not see any nuts on the walnut.
This gives assurance that this old homestead site is indeed a very remote area. Here in town single walnut trees always produce well from not being that remote. So your finding is indeed very interesting.
After finding the location you had provided, the first post about northern California, then (after that) finding a 200 foot wide narrow lake that exists there that is only 500 feet distant from the insect free apple. That provides ample reason to believe there are large populations of bats that control the codling moths. Apple trees are codling free around Vancouver Lake.
Thanks Rooney, I hadn't heard that about Vancouver Lake but I'm not too surprised. That reminds me that I need to put up a new bat house.
The "lake" on the google map is more of a damp meadow. But 1/4 mile to the north is the Smith River.
I'm down to the last apple and still no insect damage in any of them. Amazing.
I have been looking for reasons why codling moth populations can't live inside differences of cultivars. My best resource (short of stealing a screenshot) therefore comes from an online image (3 pear types) hosted only onto a downloadable large PDF file. The string to put into google search is [ site:oregonstate.edu "inside the fruit was around 10" ] without square brackets, and then clipboard the [ inside the fruit was around 10 ] without squares so that when your PDF reader opens the MartiSantiagoMarti2001.pdf file you can paste in the search terms inside of the reader to get right under the cross-sectional pictures.
What's seen is an abundance of tough stone cells between the calyx (blossom end) and the seed core (codling moth larvae food source), but not in 'bartlett' pear. I have noticed differences in apples to the extent that some carry seeds very near the calyx among other reasons besides the distance factor. Other studies other than this one get more into why proper cultivars have superior codling moth larvae resistant fruits similar to whats shown with 'anjou' pear and many others with pear. The effectiveness in stone cells or distance stifles the first generation of feeding larvae because the smaller fruits are not soft enough to enter in from other areas just yet. Further studies indicate that after mid summer when the youngest of the latter season generation larvae can finally breach other softer areas they are at a vulnerable drowning point if rainwater covers the skin for long enough to fill the hiding place.
There certainly is conditionality when it comes to fruit cultivar variances for shape, consistency etc; but also the trees themselves when standing alone and pose no fruit every other year. About 98.5% of the living populations of larvae can't live and hibernate through out a whole years time. So there's much more to know about this situation of yours. The crab I found this year on I-205 is on the east side of the freeway and .7 miles north of the Padden Parkway overpass. You can't miss the golden fruits hanging. They are solid and for some reason colored yellow through and through and could serve as a natural trap crop when the toughness in apples such as this are found luring egg laying moths towards them. Young larvae are incapable of travel so I'm ready to cultivate one next to my round japanese nashi (nijiseiki) pear tree.
Great info, Rooney.
I have also heard that some varieties of apple have very tough skin, and so it is harder for the codling moth and apple maggot to penetrate.
I wonder if really dense apples, like Arkansas Black and Ashmead's Kernel would be resistant.