Apple Varieties Thought Extinct Rediscovered In Washington And Idaho Palouse Region

Frank Peryea, Washington State University professor emeritus, shows off apples that have been infested by coddling moth caterpillars on an experimental plot at the university’s Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center. CREDIT: TONY SCHICK/EARTHFIX
Frank Peryea, Washington State University professor emeritus, shows off apples that have been infested by coddling moth caterpillars on an experimental plot at the university’s Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center. CREDIT: TONY SCHICK/EARTHFIX

Five types of apples, once thought to be extinct, have been rediscovered in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

The Lewiston Tribune newspaper reported that “apple detective” David Benscoter located the trees growing near Steptoe Butte on the rolling hills of the Palouse, known in modern times more for wheat and lentils than for tree-fruit agriculture.

Benscoter worked with apple experts at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon and Fedco Seeds in Maine to get positive identifications on the fruit. The apples were compared to written descriptions from old books and antique watercolor paintings.

The newly rediscovered apples include the Shackleford, Saxon Priest, Kittageskee, Ewalt and McAffee varietals.

Benscoter is still on the hunt for other forgotten fruit. So far he’s found 20 more varieties that he thinks may have been considered lost or extremely rare, based on old county fair records.

– BY ASSOCIATED PRESS NEWSWIRE

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