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Pollination group:

Ynys Enlli

Synonyms: Bardsey, Bardsey Island, Merlin's Apple

Identification: Fruit of the original tree tended to be small, but apples from propogated trees grow to medium size. Conic, angular sides, with a distinct and sometimes irregular crown around the eye. The base colour is green maturing to cream and marked with bold, pink stripes. The calyx is tightly closed and small, set in a wide and ribbed basin.

Characteristics: Juicy and sweet with a unique aroma of lemon.

Uses: A dual purpose apple which cooks up to a golden fluff and needs no added sugar. It's also used to make a straw coloured juice with a slight pink tint. Used to make cider, it produces a strong and flavourful brew.

Origins: This is presumably a wild seedling of unknown origin which was found growing gnarled and twisted in the shelter of the south facing wall of a house (Plas Bach) built in the 1870 by Lord Newborough on Bardsey Island off the coast of northern Wales (U.K.). In 1998, when Welsh nurseryman Ian Sturrock of Bangor sent some samples of the apple to the National Fruit Collection in Brogdale, Kent, fruit historian Joan Morgan was unable to identify it. There has been some suggestion, perhaps fanciful, that this is the sole survivor from an orchard belonging to monks who lived in the area a millennia ago. Sturrock subsequently took cutting from the tree and began to propagate it. It is sometimes called Merlin's apple because the sorcerer Merlin from King Arthur's tales is said to be buried in a glass coffin nearby.

Cultivation: The original tree grew in a protected corner of the house and was pruned by the salty winds from the sea. The propagated trees are not yet mature enough to determine their character. Some of the trees are vigorus, others are weakly vigorous. Some grow upright and others are drooping. The fruit forms on spurs.

Ploidism: Diploid. Self sterile.

Cold storage: Keeps two months in cold storage.

Vulnerabilities: Resistant to scab and canker. Mildew seems to be a problem in some areas.

Harvest: Late in the fourth period.

Harvest period: 4

Type(s): Cider, Juice

Pollination group: B

Pollination day: 6

Flowers: White with pink streaks.


Apples with a similar sounding name:

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origins: France