top of page

The South Lakeland Orchard Group - DNA Testing

Progress in Apple & Pear Cultivar Identification and Validation by DNA Analysis

by Andy Gilchrist, Chairman, South Lakeland Orchard Group

Gardeners who purchase an apple tree from a garden centre or nursery assume its labelled identity to be accurate. We all prefer certainty to uncertainty and expect things like cultivar identity to be black and white. Historically, it was difficult and time-consuming to prove otherwise. Consequently most mistaken identities went unnoticed and if the tree was subsequently used for propagation, the mistake endured, for decades or even centuries. Such mislabelling may occur during propagation either by carelessness or negligence. Labels over time become brittle and break off. In years gone by, an identity may have been forgotten, so a new name was given, leading to one or more synonyms for the same cultivar.

Fortunately in August 2010 the complete genome of Malus domestica was published, showing a structure of 17 pairs of chromosomes bearing 57,386 genes. East Malling Research then undertook a DNA analysis study ..... to read Andy's full LHS DNA article click here

DNA testing.png
leaf DNA sampling.jpg
DNA test read out.jpg

Local Apples & Pears unique by DNA analysis named by the South Lakeland Orchard Group


DNA Analysis: fruitID have confirmed that the analysis program will run again this year (apples, pears & cherries), with the analyses to be done at Cambridge instead of East Malling. The price is £39 per sample. Leaf samples have to be taken during May/June. Please advise me if you have trees which you want identifying by DNA. Let me know by end April how many trees you want to sample and I will collate all SLOG requests to fruitID and then send you numbered bags in early May. Last years results can be viewed at fruitID | Apple Identification | Apple Varieties | Apple Cultivars. Halfway down the page you can click on “Apples 2022” or “Pears 2022”. To view the Register of Local Cultivars, click on the link near the top on the left.


Many of the pears were found by Phil Rainford at  Crook Foot orchard settled in the Gilpin Valley, at the Western end of Crook village in Cumbria. They were propagated under the CR prefix. Other pears & apples were found elsewhere in Cumbria & North Lancashire. The “P” and “A” code numbers are the identities under which they were submitted for DNA analysis.

Identified Apples & Pears unique by DNA are as follows:

Crookfoot map.jpg


CR24/CR25: Size medium/small.

Season early Sept.

Juicy, sweet, slightly gritty

Aspden Pear.jpg

Ulverston Pink:


A3852 " Ulverston Pink/Crimson" from old farm orchard west of Ulverston- apples brought to a Sizergh NT Apple Day. Striking pink/red coloured apple; medium/large. Shape round, shoulders at base. Cavity narrow, deep with very slender short stalk. Basin shallow, eye half open to fully open. Mid to late season culinary fruit

Ulverston Pink.jpg

Gilpin Grey:

CR8 (lower): Size small to medium. Very long, curved stalk. Striking greyish/brown appearance. Season mid Sept. Flavour bland(at this stage).

Gilpin Grey pear.jpg

Rainford's Orange:

CR12/CR37. Size medium (to114grams).Season mid August. Hint of marzipan. Best peeled as can have astringent skin.

Rainfords Orange pear.jpg

Wilson’s Wonder:

CR26/4,35,36,44. Size medium-large (to 210gr) Season late, eating from early November. Buttery, fairly sweet.

Wilsons Wonder pear.jpg

Gilchrist’s Gold:

CR 29. Also CR 28,30,31,34.Size medium (to 102gr). Season early from late August. Sweet, juicy in 2018 but can be drier.

Gilchrists Gold.jpg

Fereday’s Fawn:

FAWN: location unknown. Small golden/fawn. Dessert- delicious-sweet and juicy, ready end of August.

Wt. to 113gr.

Feredays Fawn pear.jpg

Red Scar:

RED SCAR: former farm orchard, Preston. Medium -sized, green flushed dark crimson. Dessert.  September.  100gr.

Red Scar pear.jpg

Bield Fig:


CRB: one of three pears found within a bield above the valley containing the other pear trees. Season early to mid-September. Medium size to 100grams    (in 2014).Light green with orange-red flush

Beild Fig.jpg

Purple Potter:


“Potter" pear from Witherslack area - horizontal tree in field opposite house of potter -grafted c2011. Deep purple colour becoming less intense; long slender curved stalk. September. Wt to 115gr. (T)

Purple Potter pear.jpg

Walton Weeper:


Walton Weeper (CR3) - name should remain as written and anecdotal evidence of its presence south of Preston. Early August pear once sent to Wigan market

Walton Weeper pear.jpg

Tongue’s Seedling:


Tongue's Seedling- again name should be retained as written and verbal information. Introduced by Richard Tongue who lived at Forton; he died in 1853

Tongues Seedling pear.jpg

Gould Knapp:

P012:CR20/21/27: Gould Knapp (Threave Pears)

Gould Knapp pear.jpg

Green Slipper:


Green Slipper pear ui.png

Crookfoot Early:


CR11 (P572/2018) - small, ripening from mid July- probably the earliest of the Crookfoot pears. Leaves delicate,"feathery"(Hilary's description!). No special flavour.

Crookfoot Early pear.jpg

Stone Pear:

CR14 (P724/2018) medium-large. Weight to 142gram.Late September ripening, Soft, fairly sweet flesh.

Database match to Stone Pear (English name), Black Achan (Scottish name) & Port Allen 2/3 (NFC accession). Definitive name to be determined by RLC panel.

Crookfoot Blush pear.jpg

Bield Beauty:


CR A (P571/2018) - another bield pear. Medium-small, fruit in clusters. Mid September."Flesh creamy, juicy."

Beild Beauty.jpg

Gilpin Globe:

CR5a  (P723/2018) (early)- two varieties on Cr 5. This one fruited for the first time last year. No notes as yet!

Gilpin Glob pear.jpg

Crookfoot Crimson:

CR5b: (P726) Second variety on same tree. Size small. Not yet tasted.

Crookfoot Crimson pear.jpg

Crookfoot Chieftain:

CR2 :P570

Crookfoot Chieftain pear.jpg

Lyth Lantern:

CR33: P813/2019

Lyth Lantern pear.jpg

Patrick’s Freehold:

Patrick (P563/2018) Bright green pear from Freehold area of Lancaster. Grafted c 2008. Named after owner.

Patricks Freehold pear.jpg

Timperley Mango:

CH3 – Timperley (P363/P568)

Timperley Mango pear.jpg

Hazelslack Striped:


Adele’s striped apple = Hazelslack striped (Storth): soft fleshed round apple; light yellow with varying red stripes. Very photogenic. Mid season culinary.

Hazelslack Striped apple.jpg

Low Farm Pippin:

(Crosthwaite Fragrance)

Dob 3: Farm orchard below Crosthwaite Church. Late September- perfumed; very fleshy stalk, striped apple

Crosthwaite Fragrance apple.jpg

Linda Blenkinship:


A2071/2018 This variety was renamed as a tribute to the late Linda Blenkinship, apple expert and NFG member. The variety, which resembles Tower of Glamis, was found at a Chorley vicarage and Linda spent her childhood in the hamlet of Copp , near Gt. Eccleston ( between Poulton and Garstang), Lancashire

Chorley Vicarage apple.jpg

Silverdale Shore:


A2064/2018: Shore Road, Silverdale in Edwardian orchard of knowns including B.of Bath, Gravenstein, Worcester Pearmain . Grafted 2007

Silverdale Shore apple.jpg

Appleby Fayre:

A2058/2018: Cellini type, Appleby

Appleby Fayre apple.jpg


Harlequin :

A048/2016: Howridding A

Howridding Harlequin apple.jpg

Drumlin Doughnut:

A2057/2018: Sylvia, Preesall

Drumlin Doughnut apple.jpg

Dobson’s Green:

A053/Crosthwaite farm

awaiting pic.png

Dobson’s Pink:

A539/Crosthwaite farm

awaiting pic.png

Sale Park:

P968: collected from Sale Water Park on the banks of the Mersey, Manchester. Remnant tree in former long abandoned farm orchard. Fine red mottling; shaped somewhat like Marguerite Marillat. weight to 127g. Ripe from last week in July. "Juicy, sweet, buttery."

Sale Park.jpg

Nantwich Yellow:

P979 - I budded this from a young tree of this name in Tony Gentil's memorial orchard in Nantwich. It is definitely not Aston Town!! Attractive creamy yellow skin with red flush and striping. Weight to 161g. Rather dry and bland tasting in mid September

Mammoth Mango.jpg

Mammoth Mango:

P971 "not Beurre Clairgeau" Large pear with red flush; very thick stalk 2.5-3cm. Crunchy flesh ie not buttery. Ripening mid Sept. Origin uncertain, possibly Robinson's Mammoth Onion nursery

Mammoth Mango.jpg

Middle Birkby:

P982 a fine old Perry Pear tree standing by the farm house of Middle Birkby Farm near Cartmel. 
Ready mid-Sept

Middle Birkby.jpg

Pears (17) already planted in the Brian Fereday Westmorland Pear Collection at Sizergh Castle


List of varieties planted                           DNA result 

CR1, CR12, CR24/25, CR26, CR29                         Unique          

Fawn, Potter, CR11, CRA                                         Unique   

CR15                                                                               2019

Green Slipper                                                             Unique (NFG)

Holeslack                                                                     not done

CR20                                                                             Gould Knap

Hammered                                                                  Unique

Stone Pear

Beurre Capiaumont (failed)

Green Chisel

Gould Knapp pear.jpg

Apples submitted for Panel Review – Outcomes:


Name                                      Sample                                Panel Notes


Cockermouth Codlin                  A3045                                            Accepted

Dan’s Pippin                                  A3894                                            Accepted

Daphne’s Delight                         A3002                                           Accepted

Oakbank Pippin                           A3889                                           Accepted
Ritson’s Red                                   A3044                                           Need history & query fruit colour
Red Balsam                                    A3891                                            Need greater justification of authenticity

Bradley's Beauty                           A037                                              Accepted (already in observation plot)

Mower’s Quench                          A038                                              Accepted

Nancy Crow                                   A018                                               Accepted

Trumpeter                                     A1719                                              This variety seems likely to be part of a landrace population and other         

                                                                                                                    samples being DNA'd may shed   further light on this.  Roll over and

                                                                                                                    review again

Alan’s Apple                                  A1725                                               Accepted

Burgh Beauty                               A2046                                             Accepted (need flesh texture & taste description)

Eddie Potts                                    A1923                                              Accepted

Philip Barron                               A2074                                              Accepted

Betty Robinson (Hirst’s WP)   A1961/A410(MAN)                       Accepted (very perfumed)

Low Farm Pippin                        A1962                                              Accepted

Livsey’s Imperial                        A035                                                 Request info as to why this is thought to be Livsey’s   Imperial   – no real

                                                                                                                    provenance in submission:   unsubstantiated match and no clear

                                                                                                                    historic description

Harris Park                                 CR41                                                 Crook Foot pear - Nov 2022 meeting

Penwortham Holme                 P1169                                                Nov 2022 meeting

Sowerby Red                               P559                                                  Nov 2022 meeting

Russell's Conscience                A047                                                 Crook Foot field name - Nov 2022 meeting

St. Michael's Sunburst            A4772                                                Nov 2022 meeting

Other Apple names (no photos):

Acorn Late                                   A044                                                 Acorn Bank Late Dessert
Red Nuisance                              A2042                                               Red Nuisance/Crossrigg #14 
Crossrigg Russet                       A022                                                  Crossrigg Hall, a little russet
Ulverston Egg                             A2061                                                Phil’s Ulverston Egg shaped
Cockerham Clement                A2967                                                Cockerham /Pilling “Clement”
Storth Pink                                  A3850                                                - 
Storth Striped                            A3851                                                  -
Ulverston Yellow                        A3853                                                 - 
Newby Queening                       A3862                                                 Newby Hall false Crimson Queening 
Brantwood Tolstoy                   A3864                                                 -
Old Plough Inn                          A3913                                                  from the Plough Inn (Lyth Valley) top cooker 

bottom of page