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Denomination: 'Honeycrisp'
Botanical Name: Malus
Applicant/Holder: Regents of the University of Minnesota
Office for Technology Commercialization
Suite 160, 1000 Westgate Drive
St. Paul, Minnesota
United States of America
Breeder: James Luby, St. Paul, United States of America
David Scott Bedford, University of Minnesota, Excelsior, United States of America
Agent in Canada: Ridout & Maybee
225 King Street West
10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 3M2
Tel: 416-868-1482
Application Date: 1994-03-10
Application Number: 94-316
Grant of Rights Date: 2001-08-10
Certificate Number: 1007
Grant of Rights Termination Date: 2019-08-10

Variety Description

Variety used for comparison: 'Royal Gala'

Summary: 'Honeycrisp' is an apple variety which produces larger fruit than 'Royal Gala'. The ground colour of the skin is yellow to greenish yellow, whereas the ground colour of 'Royal Gala' is creamy yellow. 'Honeycrisp' has a red blush with streaks and mottling of overcolour over most of the fruit surface. 'Royal Gala' has a faded blush with darker flecks and streaks. Prominence of ribbing is low in the fruit of 'Honeycrisp' and strong in 'Royal Gala'. Crowning at the distal end is very weak in 'Honeycrisp' and strong in 'Royal Gala'.


'Honeycrisp' is a scion cultivar dessert apple variety which produces weak to medium vigour trees which are upright to spreading in habit. The branch strength is weak to intermediate and the bearing branches are generally at more than a 90 degree angle with the trunk. The fruit is borne on spurs. Dormant one-year old shoots have moderate pubescence on the upper half and the bark is moderately shiny.These shoots are reddish-brown in colour and are weakly to moderately flexible and have small lenticels. The bud tip is pointed and adpressed

The growing tip of the shoot of 'Honeycrisp' is white-green. Shoot tip leaves are concave in cross section and have little or no pubescence on the upper side. The lower side is bronze-green in colour. Anthocyanin colouration is intense in all veins, the petiole and the apex and margins of the shoot tip leaves. The mature leaves are held outwards from the branch and are sometimes lobed, with shallow serrate margins and a cuspidate apex. The upper side of the leaves of 'Honeycrisp' are moderately to strongly glossy, with moderate pubescence on the lower side and strong anthocyanin colouration of the veins and upper side of the blade. Before leaf fall the leaves of 'Honeycrisp' are orange to bronze-green (copper coloured). The stipules are small. Leaf fall is late.

Bud burst for 'Honeycrisp' is mid-season and occurs around May 9-10 in Peachland, British Columbia. The unopened flower is dark pink in full balloon stage and the pedicel is green. The flowers are single and creamy white in colour when fully open. The under side of the petals is creamy white with some pale pink. The flower petals are broad elliptic in shape and overlapping.

The fruit of 'Honeycrisp' is very large, symmetric and globose conical in shape with no ribbing. Crowning at the distal end is very weak. The eye is small to medium with a partly closed aperture. The calyx persists in mature fruit, with overlapping sepals. The eye basin is deep and broad. 'Honeycrisp' fruit have a long stalk, with a deep and broad stalk cavity. The surface of the fruit is hammered, dull and moderately glaucous. The skin is medium in thickness with a yellow to greenish yellow ground colour when the fruit is fully mature. There is a medium to high amount of red overcolour which gives a mottled appearance, consisting of a streaked and blush pattern. There is a low amount of russet on the fruit cheeks. The lenticels are medium sized, moderately prominent, white and russetted. 'Honeycrisp' has cream coloured flesh with some red thread-like streaks in the flesh. The core line is weakly distinct and is outlined in a fine red streak. The core is white and the aperture of the locules is open.

'Honeycrisp' produces a very good fruit yield which matures mid to late season (mid to late September in Peachland, British Columbia). At maturity the seed is grey-brown and teardrop in shape. 'Honeycrisp' is moderately resistant to skin cracking and is strongly resistant to browning of the flesh. When ripe, the fruit is coarse in texture and very juicy. The percentage of total sugars in the fruit juice is high.

Origin & Breeding History: 'Honeycrisp' was discovered at the University of Minnesota in September 1974 as part of the apple breeding program to develop winter hardy varieties with high fruit quality. The cultivar was a seedling of unknown parentage, planted in 1962 in block 53 of the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center, located in Carver County, near Excelsior, Minnesota. In this seedling orchard the position of the tree was Row 1, Tree 88. Following discovery and asexual reproduction by grafting, it was further tested as selection or designation MN1711. Selection criteria used to evaluate the variety included skin colour, flesh colour, flavour, aroma and degree of injury to wood when frozen.

Tests & Trials: Tests and trials for 'Honeycrisp' were conducted from 1997 to 1999 in Peachland, British Columbia by the okanagan Plant Improvement Co. Ltd. (PICO). The trials consisted of 104 trees, planted in 1995 on M9 rootstocks in two rows in a commercial orchard. The trees of the reference variety 'Royal Gala' were planted in adjoining rows. Measured characteristics were based on a minimum of ten measurements per year of test.

Comparison tables for 'Honeycrisp' with reference variety 'Royal Gala'

Leaf length (mm)

  'Honeycrisp' 'Royal Gala'
mean 89.0 116.4
std. deviation 5.96 9.40

Leaf width (mm)

  'Honeycrisp' 'Royal Gala'
mean 55.3 64.2
std. deviation 6.13 7.54

Stipule length (mm)

  'Honeycrisp' 'Royal Gala'
mean 8.0 14.4
std. deviation 1.41 3.78

Flower diameter (mm)

  'Honeycrisp' 'Royal Gala'
mean 50.8 62.7
std. deviation 5.33 5.31

Diameter of fruit (mm)

  'Honeycrisp' 'Royal Gala'
mean 92.02 79.61
std. deviation 5.04 3.13

Ground colour of fruit skin

  'Honeycrisp' 'Royal Gala'
colour yellow to greenish yellow cream-yellow

Total sugars in fruit juice

  'Honeycrisp' 'Royal Gala'
percentage 13.8 10.9
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