Origin and History
Worcester Pearmain is widely accepted to be one of England's most attractive dessert apples, with its brilliant red colouring and strawberry aroma. It arose as a chance seedling of Devonshire Quarrenden in William Hale's small market garden in Worcester's Swan Pool district. Local nursery owner Richard Smith passed the garden regularly and in 1870 offered William Hale £10 for exclusive rights to take grafts from the tree. This hefty sum was toprove a canny investment.
Smith named his introduction Worcester Pearmain on account of its slightly pear-like shape and exhibited the apple at the 1875 Royal HorticulturalShow, where it won a first class certificate. By the following year Richard Smith & Company was
selling the trees for a guinea each. Worcester Pearmain was set to become one of the most popular apples of its time and progenitor of other superb varieties, including Discovery, Lord Lambourne and Tydeman's Early Worcester.
The sweet juicy medium-sized fruit ripens in late August and early September. It is round or slightly lop-sided in shape. The skin is greeny-yellow and almost entirely flushed with crimson. The white flesh is crisp and often flushed with pink. The famous strawberry taste is dependent on weather conditions during the short period in which the apples ripen and can vary markedly from year to year.
Picking, Storing and Using
Worcester Pearmain benefits from its fruit being left to ripen fully on the tree but does not store well once picked. It is excellent as an eating apple and makes superb pale pink apple juice.
Growth, Flowering and Pollination
The tree withstands cold well but does not like damp, making it a good choice for Eastern England. It is usually a heavy and reliable cropper although scab can be a problem in wet summers. Worcester Pearmain is less vigorous than many varieties and grows well as an espalier.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018