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Fruit Fact: Brettacher, a variety of apples

An all-purpose very late German Winter heirloom with a sweet and fruity flavor and good storage qualities.

Variety Background:

Most Common Name: Brettacher
Species: malus domestica seeding, possibly a Jacques Lebel X Reinette De Champagne cross.
Origin: Chance seedling found in the town of Langenbrettach near Heilbronn in Germany around 1900. In the old days, the farmers would dump all the used up pumice in special places where seedlings would germinate. They would then use the seedlings for rootstock. One year, Karl Zorn noticed that one seedling had unusually large leaves and lacked thorns. He decided to not graft out this seedling and let it grow out to bearing maturity. By 1920, it became clear that this seedling produced superior apples and was named Brettacher seedling.
Patents or Trademarks: None


Description: Large to very large, slightly ribbed green-yellow apple with brown-red coloring on the sunny side. Round to slightly oblate in shape.

Flavor and tasting notes: The crisp and coarse white flesh has tinges of green and is sweet and fruity, but will be too acidic if not grown with adequate heat. Mellows in storage. A good late Winter apple that can take frost and chill while still on the tree while actually improving in flavor.


Prefers warmish, southern exposures, develops the best flavors where wine grapes do well. Not suitable for cold, foggy climates, where it will not develop the proper BRIX levels to offset the sharp tannins. Fruit flavor will not develop properly on low nutrient soils. Brettacher is a triploid and will not pollinate other varieties. Appears to be suitably low chill tolerant for most California locales except perhaps the immediate Southern Coast. Also appears to be extra-hardy, both the bloom and the wood seem extra frost resistant.

Bloom Time Rating: F13

Growth Habit:

Semi-vigorous tree that has a tendency to grow a lot of water shoots. Needs to be pruned a bit to induce a decent production of spurs, otherwise precocious.

Vigor: T2

Harvest, storage and consumption:

Late November, but fruit can continue to hang on the tree in milder climates, sometimes into December while improving in flavor. Excellent storage apple, lasting into March under conventional storage conditions.

Begin of Harvest: mid Nov
End of Harvest: mid Dec
Stores Until: mid March


An all-purpose apple great for fresh eating, cider making or cooking. Also used in Germany for juice.

Eating: Yes
Cooking: Yes
Cider: Yes


Semi-resistant against both powdery mildew and scab, but will not do well in cool Summers and damp, poorly draining soils. Highly susceptible to fireblight. Seems to sport a lot less coddling moth damage than other varieties.

Scab Susceptibility: Medium
Fire Blight Susceptibility: High
Powdery Mildew Susceptibility: Unknown
Cedar Apple Rust Susceptibility: Unknown
Black Rot Susceptibility: Unknown
Phytopthera Rots Susceptibility: Unknown
Fly Speck Susceptibility: Unknown
Coddling Moth Susceptibility: Low

Nurseries that carry this variety:

Not available in nurseries in the US.

Photo Gallery

Brettacher is a very clean, classic late Winter apple. (c) Photo Town of Langenbrettach (DE)

Brettacher Apple on the Web

History of the Brettacher Apple (in German)