Saturday, January 7, 2017

Green Dragon

Here on the East Coast, new North American varieties usually debut in winter. Green Dragon entered the market here in December.

These are shapely tapered apples just on the green side of the yellow border. The color flirts with that border, sometimes crossing it on the sunward side where some examples sport a pale and tentative orange glow.

Ribbing is moderate, though in some samples there are nearly flat regions that intersect to create a distinct edge.

The many small light lenticels are all but invisible except where russet or some other agent discolors them. Green Dragon bears the striking fragrance of green-apple candy.

Indeed, the sweetness extends to flavor. Juicy off-white flesh runs to coarse-grained. The crunch is decent but a little subdued. A sweet sugar-candy flavor is but sightly tempered by any acidity. A hint of spice and a whisper of pear pokes though the spun-sugar haze.

What would a better balance reveal? There is a succulent fruity fullness lurking behind the impenetrable curtain of sugar, a debt I guess to the Dragon's Golden Delicious seed parent. But I cannot get close enough to say what it might be. Pity.

But easy to eat, if you like sweet.

The apple currently known as Green Dragon, a Golden Delicious x Indio cross, apparently dates from Japan in the 1920s or, perhaps, 30s. Mutsu is its sibling. I am far from the first to review this variety; the delightful Fruit Maven, a fan of the sweet sweet, gave the Dragon high marks back in 2009.

I have not been able to learn much about this apple online. It is not grown locally here.

Probably, Green Dragon is but the latest brand name for this apple. I have been unable to discover what its true variety name is. It may have been sold as "Sweet Emerald" at one time.

The Dragon seems to be marketed by the same people who own the name "Hidden Rose" (aka Arlie Red Flesh). Inevitable question: If you cross the two varieties, would you get Hidden Dragon?

Of my 2 samples, the first was a dud, prompting a very different first draft. But now I can commend the Dragon to fans of candy-flavored apples—and I know you are out there. De Gustibus.


  1. I've tried to figure out the non marketing name of this apple as well. The best guess I have is an apple called Orin.

  2. I may be a bit late, but here we are: I found a Green Dragon for the first time a few months ago. I also describe it as mild, but with a good crunch. It was good, but I wouldn't rate it higher than that.

    1. @Copper: No such thing as late here! And thanks.

  3. Dragonberry's product page places the apple's origin in 1920 at Aomori, but there doesn't seem to have been a serious apple breeding program there until 1929.

    There is/was an orchard in Hood River called Glory Orchard, Inc. It has a FB page whose public posts leave off at Nov 2015. This page refers to the apple as both Green Dragon Apple and Sweet Emerald Apple. It contains a picture of the apples sold at a Safeway store as Green Dragon, with PLU 3444.

    IFPS confirms that PLU, listing the fruit as Green Dragon and supplying the alternate name Chin Loung; Google Translate says 龍/龙 (lóng) means "dragon."

    There are a lot of significant 'Indo' x GD cvs. out of Japan: 'Golden Melon' ('31) and 'Korei' ('35) were definitely developed at Aomori. There is also 'Orin' ('38), 'Mutsu' ('30), and 'Shizuka'.

  4. @anon: Just to follow up on your excellent find: the PLU database of the International Federation for Food Standards lists 3444 as the PLU for Green Dragon.

    Thanks you for tracking this down!

  5. I would be interested in purchasing a tree for my home orchard. do you know where I could find any?


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