Apple Index - "Magnum Bonum to Mississippi Pippin"

Magnum Bonum (Bonum, Maggie Bowman, Bona, Magna Bonum, Red Bonum)

round red apple with small white dots

Description: Fruit medium or below, roundish or roundish oblate; skin mostly covered with light red with indistinct darker red stripes; dots large, numerous, white or russet, many with a darker center. Flesh white, sometimes stained red near the skin, tender, juicy, fine-grained, aromatic, mild subacid. Ripe September in most of the South.

History: Magnum Bonum would be on everyone’s list of the ten greatest southern apples. It is a lovely apple of fine flavor, and the tree is hardy and productive. Southern nurseries long ago recognized its value, calling it “the standard fall apple” and “the king of all fall apples.”  An 1856 North Carolina nursery catalog gives the most information about the origin of Magnum Bonum: “Raised by Mr. John Kinny from a seed of the Hall apple, in Davidson County, North Carolina, in 1828. Named by Dr. Wm. R. Hold of Davidson College.”

Maiden’s Blush (Maiden Blush, Vestal, Lady Blush, Red Cheek, Summer Maiden’s Blush, Uchella)

watercolor of a red apple that is yellow at the stem end

Description: Fruit medium, roundish to slightly oblate; skin thin, tough, smooth, pale greenish with a light red or crimson blush, and faint darker red stripes; dots scattered, whitish and russet. Flesh white, fine-grained, moderately juicy, tender, sprightly subacid. Ripe July/August in most of the South.

History: Maiden’s Blush has been popular in the South from the early years of the nineteenth century to the present time. According to Coxe (1817), Maiden’s Blush originated in Burlington, New Jersey, and was named by Samuel Allison, who first brought it to public notice.


Manson Beauty

round apple that is red on the bottom two thirds of the fruit and yellow on the top third

Description: Fruit medium or slightly below, roundish to slightly oblate. Skin yellow, mostly covered with pinkish red with darker crimson stripes. Dots white, large, not numerous. Cavity abrupt with short stem. Basin small with open calyx. Ripe early August.

History: Origin unknown. Found by Tom Brown in Macon County, North Carolina.

Mary McKinney

red apple with splashes of darker red


Grown by the late Swansie Shepherd near Lansing, North Carolina. The original tree was found in southern Virginia near the grave of a woman named Mary McKinney. The fruit is red striped and good for cooking or fresh eating.  Apples ripen in late August.


Mary Reid

red apples with patches of yellow and with small white dots

Description: Fruit medium or above, oblate, oblique, and often irregular in shape; skin partly to mostly covered with a light red blush; dots large, irregular, russet, often aerole, with a few larger russet blotches. Flesh whitish, crisp, juicy, briskly subacid. Ripe August.

History: A local apple from Caswell County, North Carolina. Nurseryman David Vernon says it was in an orchard set out by his great-grandfather, George D. Rice (1870-1919).

Maryland (Maryland June, Maryland Beauty, Maryland Red Streak)

yellow apple largely covered with red blush

Description: Fruit medium to large, roundish oblate; skin yellow, mostly covered with dark red stripes when fully ripe; flesh yellow (Ragan says white), juicy, tender, coarse, subacid. Attractive early apple. Mealy flesh lends this apple to use for sauce. Tree vigorous. Ripe late June-August, but one reference says October.

Mattamuskeet (Matamuskeet, Matimuskite, Malamuskeet, Skeet)

red apple with small white spots

Description: Fruit medium or below, roundish to oblate, slightly conical, somewhat irregular; skin tough, mostly covered with a dull purplish or rusty red; dots large, white or russet. Flesh pale yellow, firm when picked, moderately juicy, slightly acid when picked but improving in storage. Tree very susceptible to Fireblight. Ripe September/October or later.

History: Mattamuskeet probably originated as a seedling near Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County in extreme eastern North Carolina, a county that averages ten feet above sea level. An old legend says the apple seed was taken from the gizzard of a wild goose by Mattamuskeet Indians.

May Apple (May, Yellow May, May Yellow, Early May, White Juneating, White May, Juneating, Yellow June, Mae?, Early Jennetting, Gennetting, May Pippin, Owen’s Golden Beauty, Virginia May?, Joaneting)

silhouette of apple on blue background with text "no image"

Description: Fruit small, nearly round or sometimes somewhat oblate; skin pale green turning to light yellow when fully ripe, sometimes with a brownish red cheek. Flesh white, tender, juicy, mildly acid, becoming dry and mealy quickly. Ripe end of May through June.

History: To southerners this was the May apple. Because the May apple was the first to ripen, southern children often ate too many, with inevitable stomachaches. Most pomologists consider this to be an ancient European apple probably dating back to the early Middle Ages. The English pomologist Hogg (1884) believed that the apple was named in the Middle Ages for Saint John (called Joannis or Joannet in Latin and Jean in French) because it ripened in Europe on Saint John’s Day, June 24. Thus, the original name was Joanneting, which became distorted over the years to Juneating.



red apple with numerous very small white dots

Description: Fruit medium or above, roundish to oblate, oblique, and often irregular; skin partly to mostly covered with a light red blush and some scarf skin; dots large, irregular, russet with a few larger russet blotches. Flesh whitish, crisp, juicy, briskly subacid. Ripe August/September or even later.

History: Grown and prized for many years by the Templeton family of Iredell County, North Carolina. It is different from the Canadian apple of the same name.


Mean's Seedling

green apple in a tree with light red blush where not covered by leaves

Description: Fruit medium, roundish, very conical, often oblique; skin almost covered with red and a few broken stripes; dots small, numerous, white. Flesh yellowish, crisp, juicy, subacid. Ripe September/October.

History: Herbert Childress writes, “James Means had an apple tree in his barnyard which impressed me with its quality even though it was untended and unsprayed.”


Melungeon Gold

small round shiny yellow apple with pink blush

Description: Fruit small to below medium, skin golden yellow often with considerable russet and can have a slight blush on the sunny side. Dots small, brown, not numerous. Cavity small, sometimes almost closed with short, thick stem. Basin shallow with open calyx. Fruit almost flavorless with a very faint hint of English walnut in the aftertaste. 

History: This apple carries the name of the Melungeons, a group of people once concentrated along the Virginia-Tennessee line, but now mostly in and around Hancock County, Tennessee.  Melungeon Gold was found by Tom Brown in 2006 in northeast Tennessee.


red apple in a tree

Description: Fruit small to medium, roundish or slightly oblate, conical; skin smooth, dull greenish yellow, mostly covered with light red, overlaid with indistinct stripes, well-colored apples are almost crimson in the sun; dots small to large, numerous, prominent, gray, often areolar with a russet point. Flesh greenish white, tender, crisp, juicy, slightly coarse, subacid. Ripe September/October and keeps well.

History: Thomas Milam or Milum (d. 1785) lived in Madison County, Virginia, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where nearby Milam’s Gap is named for him. A seedling tree grew up in his yard and people came from far and near to graft from “Milam’s” tree. The Milam even achieved some fame in classic American literature. This quotation is taken from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain: “Here’s a big Milum apple I’ve been saving for you, Tom, if you was ever found again—now go ‘long to school.”


Mississippi Pippin

yellow apple in a tree with an orangish red blush where the fruit is not protected by leaves

Description: Fruit medium or above, round; skin pale green, often with a faint reddish blush on the sunny side. Ripe September.

History: David Beverage of Buckeye, West Virginia, says his great-great-great grandfather bought the original tree before the Civil War from a tree peddler. His single surviving tree, a graft from the original and over a hundred years old, was found by Dr. L. R. Littleton.