Old Colorado Apples

OLD COLORADO APPLES

MORP is researching what apples historically grew in Colorado to create an Old Colorado Apples list (see below). By searching historical books, reports and records, we have so far documented 436 varieties of apples that were planted in Colorado prior to 1930. Many of the apples on this list we find still growing in our landscape on trees up to 100 years old or older. Others, nearly 50% of the list, are now considered lost/extinct. This great diversity disappeared not because these varieties did not grow well here, rather because many were simply not shiny red apples representing the standard of the time. We work to return as many of these varieties as we can to Colorado orchards. To be successful, we will need you to plant diversity in YOUR orchards — as was tradition a century ago.                             

Dr. Sandsten of the Colorado Agricultural College’s experimental station surveyed every orchard district in the state from 1917-1922. He not only documented what fruit varieties were growing in Colorado, but inventoried quantities grown in commercial orchards at that time, down to the age and condition of the orchards. In our work to survey and identify varieties in Colorado’s historic orchards we have retraced many of Sandsten’s footsteps likely putting many of the same trees he documented back on the map. DNA results from apple leaf samples collected by MORP match to 34% of the named varieties listed on the 1922 surveys confirming the endangered diversity still found in our landscape.

DETAILS ABOUT THE OLD COLORADO APPLES LIST:

✦ 64 varieties, 15%, are Common—10 or more mail order sources carry them; these varieties are NOT commonly found in nurseries, but can be found with specialty nurseries and collectors. 

 ✦ 55 varieties, 13%, are Rare—4 to 9 mail order sources carry them.            

✦ 108 varieties, 25%, are Endangered—1 to 3 mail order sources; we work to get our hands on these apples and increase their numbers before they end up on the lost list.                                                                                       

✦ 205 varieties or 47% are Lost—considered Extinct; MORP seeks these varieties in CO remnant orchards.

MORP grafts and sells/donates heritage apples trees.

 

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