Ellison's Orange

Origin and History

Ellison’s Orange is a connoisseur's mid-season eating apple, dating back to 1904 when it was raised by Rev Charles Ellison of Bracebridge Manse, Lincoln and Mr Wipf, head gardener to Revd Ellison’s brother-in-law at nearby Hartsholme Hall. Rev Ellison was a renowned pomologist, with over 1,500 fruit trees. He was an even more enthusiastic rose-grower, and the annual opening of his gardens was a highlight of the Lincolnshire social calendar. 

Ellison’s Orange is a cross between Cox’s Orange Pippin and the old, French variety, Calville Blanche d’Hiver. The grafts were bought by Pennells of Spalding (who are still trading), with the proceeds being used to finance Mr Wipf’s retirement. Ellison’s Orange achieved an RHS Award of Merit in 1911 and RHS First Class Certificate in 1917.

Fruit

Picking, Storing and Using

Best picked in September and eaten fresh, Ellison’s Orange is not a good keeper so should be harvested in batches. It is delectable in a salad and was traditionally prizedin Lincolnshire for making apple dumplings.

The fruit is medium-sized, green turning gold, flushed with distinct but broken orange and red stripes on the sunny side. It has a small amount of russeting and the skin feels very greasy. Ellison’s Orange is described as ‘once tasted, never forgotten’ on account of its rich flavour and unique aniseed undertones. The flesh is creamy-white, juicy and melting rather than crisp. 

Growth, Flowering and Pollination

The tree is vigorous and upward-spreading, prone to canker but resistant to scab and bitter-pit. It is good for frost-pockets as it flowers late, but it does need good drainage. Ideal pollinators include Charles Ross, Tydeman’s Early Worcester and Lord Lambourne.

Rev Charles Ellison engaged at his lathe in his other hobby of decorative metal-turning 1898. Courtesy of the Pennell archive.

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018 

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