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Fruit and Nut Varieties That Grow and Do Well In the Chicago Area

Fruit and Nuts that Do Well (Grow well and produce a crop) In the Chicago Area of Illinois
and similar climates of the midwest

(Derived from the Bob Kurle List) These are fruit and nut tree varieties that have been shown to grow and consistently produce a crop in the upper midwest, centered around Chicago Illinois' climate.

APPLE (Malus pumila)

  • Akane - large red good eating, dries well, introduced 1970 Tohoku Ag Ex Station
  • Arlet - Swiss gourmet apple
  • Blushing Golden - excellent eating bright waxy yellow skin with red blush
  • Centennial Crab - very early & small, sweet, tender skin, good desert & jelly (MN 1957)
  • Chieftain - big reddish, good looking keeps well, takes hot & cold (Iowa Ag Ex Station)
  • Empire - McIntosh x Red Delicious, good color, flavor, 2 wks after McIntosh (NY 1966)
  • Empress - similar to Empire, month earlier, colors welt, ships well, (NY# 651 intro 1988)
  • Gala - a summer dessert apple, doesn't color up but great eating, keeps well (NZ 1965)
  • Honey Crisp - Macoun x Honeygold, crisp, good keeper (MN plant patent 7197)
  • Jonagold, red - excellent eating, not as beautiful as Empire but tastes better
  • Kandil Sinap - looks waxed, crisp. excellent favor Turkish (early 18005)
  • Liberty - Macoun x Purdue 54-12, best eating of scab resistant apples (intro 1978)
  • Mantet - earliest dessert apple, juicy, pleasing flavor often ripe August 1 (Manitoba 1929)
  • Mcintosh - good cooking, eating, cider, thin tender skin, slightly tart (Ontario 1870)
  • Mcintosh, Rogers Red - tastes good, colors solid red
  • Mutsu (Crispin) - Golden Delicious x Indo, excellent yellow eating apple, late season, at peak end of November stays good till spring one of best for this area (Japan intro 1948)
  • Northern Spy - excellent except drying & cider, slow to bear (intro NY about 1800)
  • Patricia - good to eat right off the tree, most have to age week to taste so good (1921)
  • Red Astrachan - early, sauce, pies, gets mealy (Russian to Britain from Sweden 1748)
  • Red Secor - keeper, hard when picked, flavor changes, best after April (MN apple)
  • Starr - cooking apple. improves to desert apple, long season (NJ 1865)
  • Virginia Gold - large luscious yellow, very popular recent eating apple
  • Yataka - Fuji type, but earlier, and will ripen in our area
  • Yellow Transparent - sweet, juicy, excellent applesauce, scab resistant (Russian 1870)
  • Wilson Juicy - large early apple, heavy bearer
  • Braeburn (NZ intro 1952), Fuji (Tohoku #7,1962), and Granny Smith (New South Wales 1868) fine apples, but our season is not long enough for them to mature properly

Apples by Categories

  • Scab and rust resistant apples -
    Liberty, Primo, Purdue #2 (no beauty, but big & tasty)
  • Insect-free apples - Red Field & Worm Free, big, sour even bugs don't like, good jelly
  • Best early eating - Mantet, attractive red apple, ripe early August, does not keep well
  • Best keeping apple - Red Secor, sour apple that develops good flavor after April
  • Most beautiful apple - Kandil Sinap. Turkish, red & yellow sheepnose, looks waxed
  • Juiciest Apple - Kimble, very large
  • Largest Apples - Wolf River (1875), Stark Jumbo, My Apple
  • Sourest apples - Zabergau Reinette: large russet (Germany 1885); Red Field, red flesh

APRICOT (Prunus armeniaca)

  • Afghanistan - sweet, too tender for commercial use, (intro from Iran 1957)

SOUR CHERRY (Prunus cerasus)

  • Montmorency - self-fruitful, tart, tangy, doesn't get mushy (French to US 1760)

SWEET CHERRY (Prunus avium)

(grow only netted trees because of birds, keep under 7')

  • Black Russian - on Giessen 172-9
  • Chinook - on Giessen 172-9
  • Lapins - self-fertile on Giessen 172-9
  • Hedelfinger - on Giessen 172-9
  • Royalton - self-fertile on Giessen 172-9
  • Summit - on Giessen 172-9
  • Starkrimmson - self-fertile, Giessen 172-9
  • Sue - on Giessen 172-9
  • Utah Giant -


All figs should br deeply muched in the winter, and are best planted in protected areas, like against a southern wall.  The branches above ground will typically die, but new growth will come up from the roots each Spring and produce a crop.

  • Chicago Hardy Fig Tree (yes, that's the name), e golf ball sized figs
  • Brown Turkey (with deep mulching)

KIWIS (Actinidia spp.)

one male will pollinate 6-8 females in 50 foot circle

  • A. arguta. Anasasnaja - sweet, fuzzless, one of the argutas not uniform fruit size
  • A. arguta, Meader - named after Prof. Elwyn Meader
  • A. arguta, Michigan State - good size 3 x 1/2 inches. same size as crab apple
  • Red Princess - brick red, orange flesh

MULBERRY (Morus spp.)

  • Illinois Everbearing - good flavor, to late August, 2 inches long

NECTARINE (Prunus persica var. nucipersica)

  • Summer Beauty - will fruit only after mild winter
  • Sweet Melody - dwarf nectarine, not too sweet

PAW PAW (Asimina triloba)

  • PawPaw - Central US. rich, moist soil. pest & disease free, (shipped to England 1736)

PEACH (Prunus persica)

  • Encore - very late peach, bacterial leaf spot resistant (Plant patent 4572)
  • Reliance - very hardy, especially good in suburbs away from lake, small pit (NH 1964)
  • Red Haven - excellent, standard against which other peaches measured (MI 1940)
  • Sensation Dwarf Peach - hardy zone 5-8, not too flavorsome (Plant Patent 5124)

ASIAN or ORIENTAL PEAR (Pyrus pyrifolia or P. ussuriensis)

  • Naju - keeps till May
  • Yakumo - ripe September 3, 1993, crisp like apple when ripe, melon flavor

EUROPEAN PEAR (Pyrus communis)

  • Beirschmidt - eat right off tree, sweet, grit-free, doesn't turn brown in salad
  • Bartlett - Standard for pears (from England 1797,.75% US Canada production)
  • Rescue - mild, beautiful and very large, yellow with orange and red stripes and blush

PERSIMMON, AMERICAN (Diospyros virginiana)

  • Native east US, adapted wide range of soils and climates, drought resistant, yellow fruit
  • Garretson - good producer, ripens early
  • Wabash -

EUROPEAN PLUM (Prunus spp.)

  • Dietz or Russian - small blue, productive, makes excellent wine
  • Empress Prune-Plum - blue, very large, ripe September 1,1993
  • Japanese Green Gage
  • Mt. Royal Plum - blue, good flavor, ripe September 1,1993, can be dried for prunes
  • Opal - self-fertile, freestone, red with yellow flesh (Swedish intro 1958)
  • Stanley Prune-Plum - blue with bloom, most widely planted midwest (NY 1913)
  • Unize Plum - sweet as a bag of sugar


  • Red Heart - Purple Heart may be same Rotschke
  • Shiro - dependable crop, excellent. yellow with pink blush (1899)
  • Starking Delicious Plum - red to purple flesh, ripe August 28, 1993, disease resistant


ALMOND (Prunus dulcis var. dulcis)

  • Titan - one of hardiest, blooms late escapes early spring frosts.

BUTTERNUT (Juglans cinera)

  • Hancock -

CHESTNUT (Castanea spp.)

  • Gellatly - large, productive will grow ph8, like pincushion keeps squirrels at bay
  • Heritage -

Above is the
2020 version of
the Ball Blue Book