Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reinette Simirenko (Wood's Greening) **

This large-medium - sized apple is conical and distinctively ribbed: one jutting corner of my sample cleaves the air like the prow of a ship.

The peel is delicately colored with green streaks over a lighter green, but some samples have a small fragile pink blush. There are light lenticels, and my sample has flyspeck, sooty blotch, and a corona of russet flairing out fron the stem well.

Simerenko's calyx is well open, indeed I can see the stamens clearly. There is only a very faint sweet aroma.

Inside is firm, dense white flesh, delicately tart and well-balanced. There's citrus--a little like tangerine--and spice, and a very satisfying crunch. Also a sweetly vegetable note. This is a great apple, with a pleasing texture and harmonious flavors.

Given the color and other characteristics, some comparison to Granny Smith may be helpful. Compared to Granny, this Reinette is not as tart, has some different flavors, and is perhaps a bit crisper, but the quality of the flesh is similar.

Cosmonauts took Simirenko into space, lending popularity to the story that this variety originated in the garden of Ukranian pomologist Leo Simirenko in 1895. However, some sources report that this is the same apple as Wood's Greening, which was widely described forty years earlier in North America.

So, is this a cold-war propaganda rivalry taken into the orchard? Simirenko himself apparently left the door open to the possibility that his apple originated in the West.

I love the wonderful shape of this second sample, though it is not typical.

The photo shows a bit of blush (which is faint anyway) along the bottom right side. (As usual, you can click the photo for a close-up).


  1. Such stories of questionable provenance are not uncommon. Many "Russian" tomato varieties actually originated in the US as well. Heck, at one point, the Soviets even claimed Russia invented baseball!

    Also -

    "Peal" is what a bell does.
    "Peel" is what an apple has.

  2. Thank you for pointing that out! I go cross-eyed proofing my own fingers sometimes.

  3. I bought a Reinette Simirenko tree last year. I was kind of hoping for a Granny Smith substitute. Granny Smith is one of my favorites, if not my favorite, but probably wouldn't survive an Iowa winter. Thanks for the photos and description.

  4. I've had a RS (W's G?) tree for around 20 years, bought from an nursery in the San Francisco Bay area. The tree bore early and generously and the apples are superb for eating and cooking. Rich, complex sweet-tart flavor; excellent keepers.

    1. @anon: This is a very classy apple. I'm sorry I couldn't get any this year.

  5. Lev, not Leo!
    If grown in Iowa Simirenko variety should be grafted on hardy stem builder as it tends to overbear and less hardy then Golden.
    Izumitelnoe (about 145 DAF, bred in Rossosh) variety is Mac x Simirenko cross is a good option for colder/shorter growing season areas, lets say up to southern MN.


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