King David

Why you should be excited

King David is a dark, dark red apple from Arkansas that never quite won the big popularity it deserved in the U.S. south.

The story of King David

With so many apple varieties in existence, the chances of any one becoming widely planted are always a long-shot.

In the early 1900s, King David was promoted by the U.S. nursery Stark Brothers as a replacement for Jonathan, then a long-standing widely-planted favourite. It seemed like a good idea at the time, given King David's attractiveness and excellent flavour.

Ah, but this variety proved to be finicky, delivering its best flavour only when perfectly ripened before harvest (which is a problem for large-scale commercial agriculture) and then not keeping as long as some other varieties.

Not a commercial success, King David remains a very nice apple for those of us willing to respect its quirks.

King David Facts

Its origins

Discovered in Durham, Arkansas, USA, 1893.

Flavour, aroma, texture

The juicy and sweet flesh has pleasant acidity and a strong apple flavour.


The skin of this dark maroon-coloured apple verges on black.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in mid-October).

Quality for fresh eating


Quality for cooking

Mainly used for fresh eating.

Quality for cider

King David has a good reputation as a cider apple, mainly due to its excellent flavour and high level of sugar.

Keeping ability

Good (about 3 months when kept refrigerated).