This section is from the book "The Fruit Manual: Containing The Descriptions And Synonyms Of The Fruits And Fruit Trees Of Great Britain", by Robert Hogg. Also available from Amazon: The Fruit Manual.
Fruit, medium sized, two inches and a half wide, and about two inches and a quarter high; roundish ovate, and flattened at both ends. Skin, greenish yellow, almost entirely covered with brownish grey russet, strewed with brownish scales on the shaded side, and slightly tinged with brownish red, strewed with silvery scales on the side exposed to the sun. Eye, small and open, with broad recurved segments, and set in a rather shallow basin. Stalk, short, inserted in a deep and round cavity. Flesh, greenish yellow, firm, crisp, brisk, sugary, and richly aromatic.
The tree is very hardy, and an abundant bearer.
The Golden Russet is often confounded with this, hut the former is covered with cinnamon-coloured russet and has often a bright red cheek next the sun as if varnished.
Fruit, below medium size, two inches and a half to two and three-quarters wide, and two and a quarter to two and a half high, round and flattened, but sometimes considerably elongated. Skin, light greenish yellow, covered with yellowish brown russet, and a tinge of brownish orange next the sun. Eye, small and partially open, placed in a moderately deep round and plaited basin. Stamens, marginal; tube, conical. Stalk, short, inserted in a round and deep cavity. Flesh, yellowish, firm, crisp, juicy, sugary, rich, and highly aromatic. Cells, obovate; axile, slit A dessert apple of the very first quality, possessing all the richness of the Nonpareil, but with a more sugary juice. It comes into use in November, and is in greatest perfection from Christmas till May.
The tree is very hardy, an excellent bearer, and will succeed in situations unfavourable to the Nonpareil, to which its leaves and shoots bear such a similarity as to justify Mr. Lindley in believing it to be a seedling from that variety.
I have seen an apple called Improved Ashmead's Kernel, which is no improvement at all. It is much like the old one, and has more orange next the sun.
This delightful apple was raised at Gloucester, about the beginning of last century, by Dr. Ashmead, an eminent physician of that city. The original tree existed within the first quarter of the present century, in what had originally been Dr. Ashmead's garden, but was destroyed in consequence of the ground being required for building. It stood on the spot now occupied by Clarence Street.
It is difficult to ascertain the exact period when it was raised; but the late Mr. Hignell, an orchardist at Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, informed me in 1840 that the first time he ever saw the fruit of Ashmead's Kernel was from a tree in the nursery of Mr. Wheeler, of Gloucester, in the year 1796, and that the tree in question had been worked from the original, and was at that time upwards of thirty years old. From this it may be inferred that the original tree had attained some celebrity by the middle of last century. Ashmead's Kernel has long been a favourite apple in all the gardens of West Gloucestershire, but it does not seem to have been known in other parts of the country. Like the Ribston Pippin it appears to have remained long in obscurity, before its value was generally appreciated; it is not even mentioned in the catalogue of the extensive collection which was cultivated by Miller and Sweet, of Bristol, in 1790. I find it was cultivated in the Brompton Park Nursery in 1780, at which time it was received from Mr. Wheeler, nurseryman, of Gloucester, who was author of " The Botanist's and Gardener's Dictionary," published in 1763, and great-grandfather of the present proprietor of the nursery.
Astrachan. See White Astrachan.