Brownlees Russet

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Fruit Fact: Brownlees' Russet, a variety of apples

A nice, very late heavily russeted apple which, unlike other russeted apples, features more sharpness than sweetness. However, it does mellow nicely with some storage. It's not unusual to find fallen fruit in the duff around christmas that are still outstanding in flavor.

Variety Background:

Most Common Name: Brownlees' Russet
Species: malus domestica
Synonyms: None
Origin: Originally raised by William Brownlee of Hemel Hempstad, United Kingdom, in 1848.
Patents or Trademarks: None


Description: Medium size, golden brown russeted apple, almost potato like, very rough skin, and irregular shape.

Flavor and tasting notes: The almost greenish, cream colored flesh is semi-soft yet juicy and tart at first, but mellows to more sweetness over time. Very fine, delicious, earthy, fruity balanced flavor.


Brownlee's russet doesn't appear to be picky about climate, and does well in Central California gardens with medium chill accumulations. Probably suitable in inland locations further south. Rated as F9 in some of the literature, but our observations has it blooming after Calville Rouge D'Automne, so more like F16. Doesn't like dry ground, and needs plenty of moisture, otherwise it will go too dry and mealy.

Bloom Time Rating: F16

Growth Habit:

semi-vigorous, upright growth habit.

Vigor: T2

Harvest, storage and consumption:

Ripens mid to end of October, and stores very well, into March under proper conditions.

Begin of Harvest: mid Oct
End of Harvest: early Nov
Stores Until: mid March


Mostly a dessert apple, a decent cooker since it retains its flavor when cooked, but it is not juicy enough for cider.

Eating: Yes
Cooking: Yes
Cider: No



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

Nurseries that carry this variety:

Rare in the US, not available in nurseries, scion wood is hard to come by.

Grows at Filoli Heritage Orchard.

Photo Gallery

Brownlee Russet is a beautiful, rustic looking apple. (c) The Cloudforest Gardener