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Pollination group:

Mammoth Black Twig

Synonyms: Arkansas (Not Arkansas Black), Arkansaw, Big Black Twig, Blacktwig, Black Twig, Mammoth Blacktwig

Identification: Large, round and sometimes slightly conic. Heavily ribbed. The base colour is yellow, over which is a deep red wash that covers most to all of the sun-exposed surface. The lenticels are small and abundant, pale almost white. The stem is very short and stout, set in a moderately wide and deep cavity which is heavily russetted with rays extending over the shoulder. The calyx is closed and set in a shallow basin.

Characteristics: The flesh is yellow, coarse-grained, very firm, crisp. Juicy and slightly tart with excellent flavour. The skin itself is somewhat bitter when the apple if first harvested.

Uses: A popular apple in the early 1900s, this apple was used for baking pies and cobblers. Also makes a good apple sauce. Frequently used in cider making. Edible fresh but it tends to be tart and hard unless well aged.

Origins: Originated on John Crawford's farm three kilometres northeast of Rhea's Mill, in Washington County of northwestern Arkansas (U.S.A.) from amid Limbertwig and Black Twig (likely Winesap which were commonly referred to as Black Twig) pippins he had brought with him from Tennessee and planted in 1833 or 1834. Believed to have come from an open-pollinated Winesap (which it resembles), with Limbertwig the most probable pollen parent. First publicized at the 1884 New Orleans Exposition by E.F. Babcock as Arkansaw, though it was by then already widely known as Mammoth Black Twig. In the late 1800s, Dr. W.L. Moores of Cyrustown, Tennessee, proposed that both the Mammoth Black Twig and Major Rankin Toole's big Black Twig from Tennessee be listed under the name Paragon since they were both remarkably similar. That proposal failed to take hold and the name Paragon refers to the Major Toole's Black Twig.

Cultivation: Moderately vigorous, upright spreading tree. Bears fruit on spurs. Annual harvests, but sometimes falls off track resulting meager to scant harvests. Well suited to the climate of the southern United States.

Ploidism: Triploid. Produces only sterile pollen.

Notes: At one time, the Paragon was believed to be the same as the Mammoth Blacktwig, but that was reconsidered since the Paragon which emerged in the 1870s is listed as having originated in Tennessee. The Blacktwig is the state apple of Tennessee.

Cold storage: Keeps well and the fruit becomes sweeter and the skin becomes very waxy. Colour deepens with storage.

Vulnerabilities: Resistant to scab, mildew and canker.

Harvest: Ready for harvest toward the end of the fifth period (160 t 190 days from petal drop). Sometimes fruit drops prematurely.

Harvest period: 5

Type(s): Culinary, Cider, Dessert, Pie, Sauce

Hardiness Zone min: 5

Hardiness Zone max: 8

Pollination group: C

Pollination day: 10