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Where is the real Yellow Transparent apple?
It was just by chance that some time ago we came across an article titled EEN NIEUWE APPEL, YELLOW TRANSPARENT (A NEW APPLE, YELLOW TRANSPARENT) published in TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR TUINBOUW No. 1 (1896) by A. Ide, director at the time of the renowned G.A. van Swieten School of Horticulture, at Frederiksoord.
In this article he describes an attractive American apple cultivar received under the name Yellow Transparent. The apple, according to him, had been introduced in The Netherlands by Groenewegen Boomkwekers, a local nurseryman at The Bilt.
Around 1900, another apple, also named Yellow Transparent, syn. Transparente Blanche, Transparent Jaune en White Transparent, appeared in The Netherlands. This apple is locally known as Blanke Madeleine (southwestern province of Zeeland) and St. Jaopik’s apple (eastern province of Gelderland).
In Germany, where this apple is known as Weisser Klarapfel, apparently this apple had been in cultivation ever since the middle of the 19e century. Allegedly, together with similar Russian apples, it had been introduced from one of the Baltic states (Latvia).
When exactly this apple appeared in The Netherlands, is not clear. However, it seems that this apple was sent to the French nurseryman Leroy, at Angers as early as 1852. Allegedly, from France it subsequently was introduced to The Netherlands around 1900, but we have been unable to determine how and by whom.
Never have we encountered or heard of any conflict of naming in nursery lists, nor in the pomological literature, nor through oral history, until by chance, whilst consulting Beach’s standard work, THE APPLES OF NEW YORK (1905), in an attempt to elucidate another identification problem. Indeed, Beach describes an apple by name Yellow Transparent, apparently of the same type and characteristics as described by Ide (see above).
According to Beach, this apple was introduced from Russia by the United States Dept. of Agriculture, in 1870. Immediately, the earlier mentioned article by Ide (1900) came back to my mind. In fact, it became ever so interesting as in this same book another apple, named Thaler, with synonym, also(!), Yellow Transparent, was briefly described by Beach, but considered by him as inferior to the earlier mentioned Yellow Transparent. Thaler, apparently was also known under the synonym Charlottenthaler.
Our particular interest was drawn to the fact that he specifically mentioned the susceptibility of Thaler, also known as Chalottenthaler, to fruit tree canker (Nectria galligena), whereas his (American) Yellow Transparent, according to him, was not susceptible to this disease.
Just this particular character of resistance to canker as noticed by Beach that was also explicitly described by Ide. This to us indicates strongly that Ide was indeed dealing with this particular ‘version’ of Yellow Transparent.
Still we possibly would not have been keenly interested in this apple, if not for the fact that we had for several years been holding a apple in collection that is nearly identical and in fact very hard to distinguish from our common type of Yellow Transparent. This type however showed one major difference in that it apparently is totally resistant to canker.
Although somehow puzzled by this, we had been taking this type as a chance seedling that had emanated from a pip of Yellow Transparent, that had in fact re-appeared in a nearly identical form, with one major difference: resistance to canker. It had been the major reason that we had maintained and even propagated this particular type.
In conclusion: we might in fact be dealing here with the American type of Yellow Transparent, that according to Ide (1896) had once been introduced to our country by above-mentioned nurseryman in de early 1890’s
However, as we are not entirely satisfied with this preliminary conclusion, we should be most happy to receive from among the readers of the De Slanke Spil any further evidence to this effect, in particular as to observed high levels of resistance to canker in their Yellow Transparent, that one might be growing in one’s orchard or backyard.
Interestingly, but not readily unexplainable, is the fact that De Greeff just a few years thereafter, also teacher at the horticultural college as Ide, did not refer to the canker resistant American Yellow Transparent in his series of booklets listing apple and pear varieties in ONZE APPELS EN PEREN. This series was published from 1905, through 1908, so the earlier mentioned ‘American’ Yellow Transparent must have been present in this school’s teaching nursery.
Ide, A., Een nieuwe appel (Yellow Transparent), (1896), Tijdschrift voor Tuinbouw, No. 1, pg. 14
Beach, S.A. et al., The Apples of New York, volume 1, (1905) Charlottenthaler and Yellow Transparent, pg. 222 and 248, respectively.
De Greeff, H., Onze Appels en Peren (1905- 1908)
(published earlier in De Slanke Spil, Newsletter of Friends of the Fruitteeltmuseum, Kapelle, Zld., The Netherlands, no. 24, maart 2015)
Where is our real Yellow Transparent apple?
Rother Weinapfel, an unsolved pomological problem
It has been as far back as 1997 that during a varietal identification session somewhere in The Achterhoek (Province of Gelderland), the easternmost region of The Netherlands, I was shown an apple referred to as Wienappel (Wine apple) of which we were unable to determine its actual varietal name, sofar. Since then, we came across this particular apple on several more occasions and were even able to trace all of these back to one particular nurseryman (Westerhof) in the southernmost section of our region (De Heurne, near Dinxperlo). He had been distributing this apple in his region, as from the early 1900’s, its origin being an old tree at his parents’ homestead not far from the border with Germany.
After several years of investigations, searching the Dutch and German pomological literature, including consultations with German experts, no conclusive evidence as to the origin and possible original name of this apple was ever obtained. In fact, only in one old nursery list (Ottolander, 186) an apple was listed under the name Rother Weinapfel. As its time of ripening October/through December was mentioned, which fits our apple remarkably well.
However, going through the unequaled pomological pomological standard work, The Apples of New York (Beach, S.A., 1905) led us to the preliminary conclusion that the apple involved might well be the apple listed by Beach, by its German name, Rother Weinapfel (Red Wine).
Unfortunatey, Beach only briefly mentions this apple, without providing an accompanying illustration. He lists the apple in a group of apples of the, so called, ‘Russian raspberry” type.
For reasons unknown to us, this apple seems to have never been described, nor even been mentioned, in the German pomological literature, although the apple concerned most likely occurred elsewhere in Central Europe and might well have been brought to the USA by early German settlers.
I have meanwhile made a number of attempts to get in contact with and obtain further information about the possible existence to date, of this old variety in the USA, either in germplasm repositories, or in private collections, or in collections held by nurserymen. However, till now, unfortunately all to no avail.
In conclusion: I would be most obliged to receive any feed back about this apple, in case anybody, in Germany, or elsewhere in Europe, but more in particular in the USA, might have further information relevant to this most interesting apple. Obviously, I should like to obtain further information, as to the possibility that this apple still occurs in the USA to date, respectively, is being held in repositories somewhere.
I am looking forward to further relevant information as to the possible occurrence in apple repositories or gene banks, in Europe, the USA, or anywhere else for that matter. Possibly this apple still is being grown somewhere in Europe (Germany?), or in the USA.
For a picture of the apple concerned in my collection I should like to refer to the particular section on my website, www.vergetenfruitrassen.nl
It is listed as Rother Weinapfel.
The original Dutch language version had earlier been published in De Slanke Spil, Newsletter of Friends of the Fruitteeltmuseum, Kapelle, Zld., The Netherlands, no. 30. November, 2017).