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Dutchess of Oldenburg

DUCHESS OF OLDENBURG is one of a group of four pioneer Russian apples brought to the United States in 1935, when the London Horticultural Society sent them to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston. The other three were: Alexander, Red Astrachan and Tetofsky. Likely, it was known in Russia in the 17th century, and was recorded in England in 1817. Duchess of Oldenburg is speculated to be a grandparent of both Northern Spy and McIntosh. A round, medium-sized apple with pale-yellow skin almost entirely covered with irregular stripes and splashes of bright red, the yellowish flesh is crisp, tender, juicy and has a brisk and sprightly flavor. It is suitable for eating out of hand when fully ripe, but it excels for culinary use before full ripeness. It bears early and annually and is still widely grown in Europe. The very hardy tree will tolerate heavy soils and will fruit biennially. Interestingly, the dull leaves have roundish depressions about 1/2 inch in diameter and the reddish bark is smooth and satiny. It ripens in August, but when overripe, it becomes mealy and will not keep long.

Ripening Period

  • Late Summer - August