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

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DNA test read out.jpg
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Local Apples & Pears unique by DNA analysis named by the South Lakeland Orchard Group

The winter meetings in 2018 & 2019 named 22 pear & 9 apple varieties shown to be unique by DNA analysis


Many of the pears were found by Phil Rainford at  Crookfoot 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:


CR24/CR25: Size medium/small.

Season early Sept.

Juicy, sweet, slightly gritty

Aspden Pear.jpg
Crookfoot map.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

Chorley Vicarage:

A2071/2018 Chorley vicarage - old tree next to Keswick Codlin. Looks like Tower of Glamis. Grafted 2015

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

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 RLC Panel Review - Outcomes


Name                                      Sample                                Panel Notes


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