Pome

Devonshire Quarendon

The Devonshire Quarenden, from William Hooker, Pomona Londinensis, 1818

There is a freedom and creativity that resonates in the naming of apple and pear cultivars which I have long appreciated. I like to revel in the Anglo-Saxon olde-englishness of these names, which are frequently punctuated with an insolent gallic shrug or a royal continental flourish. These vivid, descriptive names make it easy to imagine what inspired our ancient, not-so-ancient and new-world growers to christen their apples so peculiarly and poetically. There is also a bawdiness and an undercurrent of innuendo in some of these names that definitely has an appeal all of its own.

So here is my pome-poem to celebrate my love of this eccentric British tradition.

Illustration of a pear variety from the Herefordshire Pomona

Illustration of a pear variety from the Herefordshire Pomona, c 1878

American Beauty
Slack-Ma-Girdle
Rubens, Gorgeous

Butt

Foxwhelp
Redstreak, Forty Shilling
Greasy Jack

Wealthy

Ten Commandments, Bishop’s Thumb
Red Delicious

Smitten

Spartan, Empire
Snowsweet, Winesap
Early Windsor

Queen

Cox, Empress
Swan’s Egg, Princess
Api Noir

Envy

Holly, Allen’s Everlasting
Gipsy King

Melon

Lemon Pippin
Porter, Gin
Cockpit
Brandy

Pine

Joybells
Nonsuch
Marriage Maker

Violette

Blaze

 

Illustrations by Alois Lunzer depicting apple cultivars Crimson Beauty and North Star, 1909

Illustrations by Alois Lunzer depicting apple cultivars Crimson Beauty and North Star, 1909

Illustrations by Alois Lunzer depicting apple cultivars McIntosh Red and Grimes Golden, 1909

Illustrations by Alois Lunzer depicting apple cultivars McIntosh Red and Grimes Golden, 1909

 

Book of the Month

The Herefordshire Pomona
‘The Herefordshire Pomona’ – containing original figures and descriptions of the most esteemed Kinds of Apples and Pears’, by Robert Hogg and Henry Graves Bull, first published between 1876 and 1885 is currently on sale on ABE books at a mere £13,000.00. But it is in very good condition.

 Track of the Month

Apple Stretching, by Grace Jones

Grace

Grace. Getting the funk on

Art Spot

Paul Cézanne, ‘Apples and Oranges’

Paul Cezanne Apples and Oranges

Paul Cézanne, ‘Apples and Oranges’, 1899

‘Apples and Oranges. . . combines modernity and sumptuous beauty. . . the most important still life produced by the artist in the late 1890’s’ (Musée d’Orsay)

Plant of the Month

Malus domestica. A blazing glory of cultivars and varieties.

Sources:

Brogdale National Fruit Collection
Bernwode Plants
ABE Books
Adam’s Apples
@FlowersShamini
Oxford Pomona

Images: Wikimedia Commons, Musée D’orsay

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