Parentage of Apple Cultivars


Nearly all apple cultivars have two parents – just like humans!  Apples have a genetic system that generally prohibits self-fertilization.  This self-incompatibility system is a way of insuring that each apple seed will be a hybrid between the maternal (seed) parent and a paternal (pollen) parent. The self-incompatibilty system is also the reason why two or more cultivars must be planted in an orchard to achieve fruit production through insect-vectored movement of pollen from one cultivar to the other.


How do I find out if two apple cultivars are effective to cross pollinate?

Nursery catalogs or their web sites often list apple pollination charts or recommend good apple varieties to use as pollinzers. Varieties listed in these charts have overlapping bloom periods and are effective pollinizers. However, some varieties, such as Winesap, Stayman, Mutsu, and Jonagold, produce sterile pollen and therefore cannot be used to pollinate other apple varieties. …