Berner Rosenapfel

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Fruit Fact: Berner Rosenapfel, a variety of apples

A swiss heirloom favorite, Berner Rosen is a large, sweet, fragrant and aromatic attractive apple with white flesh and red veins covered in bright red flush over light green. Beware of the fake - It is very difficult to obtain the "true" Berner Rosen in the US, as another variety seems to be distributed under this name. If the real thing was propagated, it would be incredibly popular throughout the US as well. The true Berner Rosen puts out a very intense aroma that is unmistakable. If I could grow only one single apple variety, this one would be it.

Variety Background:

Most Common Name: Berner Rosenapfel
Species: malus domestica
Synonyms: Rose de Berne, Berner Rosen
Origin: Discovered growing in forest near Opplingen, Canton Berne, Switzerland in 1888.
Patents or Trademarks: None


Description: A beautiful, large, red apple covered with lilac bloom. Can get waxy, and bruises easily. The red blush usually covers the entire green skin, which turns yellow when fully ripe, and when combined with the red blush, glows bright red. Covered with small russet dots.

Flavor and tasting notes: The juicy and intensely fragrant yellow flesh has red veins and red coloring right under the skin. Highly aromatic, vinous, a yummy sweetness balanced by the perfect level of spiciness. By far one of the best apples on the planet, fills up the entire kitchen with the sweet perfume of apples when ripe, practically irresistible.


Medium chiller, fruits easily in Central California. Prefers warm Summer to develop good flavor and BRIX levels, and needs chilly Fall weather to fully develop aromatics. Not suitable for colder, foggier climates, needs the warmest possible setting in the garden if near the coast.

Bloom Time Rating: F11

Growth Habit:

Semi-vigorous, strongly upright growth, comes into bearing early, To fully develop the best flavor it needs deep moist but well drained loam. Best to use Summer pruning, Winter pruning will only generate excessive water shoots.

Vigor: T2

Harvest, storage and consumption:

Precocious, heavy bearer, needs some thinning. Ripens very late in November, and keeps until the following May under favorable storage conditions.

Begin of Harvest: mid Nov
End of Harvest: early Dec
Stores Until: early May


Berner Rosen is the perfect dessert apple, and is also suitable for juicing and processing.

Eating: Yes
Cooking: No
Cider: Yes


Susceptible to both scab and powdery mildew. Coddling moths love this apple and will seek it out.

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

Nurseries that carry this variety:

Not available in US nurseries, however, scion wood is available. (Note: make sure to obtain the "real" Berner Rosen.)

Photo Gallery

The Cloudforest Berner Rosen trees will fruit this year for the first time, we will see if the various versions of the Berner Rosen include the real Berner Rosen. Meanwhile, here are some pictures from around the web.

This picture from the Bavarian Dept. of Agriculture shows the classic Berner Rosen, complete with the typical sort of damage one might find in the backyard. This is the real one, you can see that it's more egg-shaped. This picture is the closest to what I can remember from this apple, the favorite apple of my childhood.(c) Bayrisches Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft

This picture from Eastman Antique Apples is highly suspect, as it is oblate as opposed to more round or egg shaped. This may be the impostor variety floating around in apple collections in the US. (c) Eastman Antique Apples

Evaluation of the GRIN version of Berner Rosen in the Cloudforest Orchards - from the images, it looks like the real Berner Rosen given the egg shape. (c) USDA GRIN


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