Someone in Arkansas posted this photo on GardenWeb forum and listed it as “Tull”. I checked up on it, and was relieved to find that it pre-dates Jethro and his flute by 100 years. It is listed in the “extinct from cultivation” list in C. Lee Calhoun’s Old Southern Apples, and described thus:
“Originated before 1868 on the farm of Abram Tull, Grant County, Arkansas. Root sprouts were dug from the original tree, and several small orchards were established by neighbors. Apples were sold from these orchards for years in Little Rock before the trees were grafted and sold by nurseries. The Tull is healthy, well adapted to southern growing conditions, blooms late and carries its foilage late into the fall. THe fruit hangs well on the tree, often into November, and is free from rot.
Fruit medium to above, roundish, flattened on the ends, skin greenish with red striped becoming mostly red when ripe, resembling Ralls Janet; dots numerous, white; stem medium length in a greenish cavity; calyx closed; basin gradually sloped; flesh yellow, firm, juicy crisp, subacid. Ripe October-March. Catalog listings; AL, TN, AR (1898-1920) ”
I should add that the poster said this one was very green, and that it develops some red strips after they ripen a bit more. This is typical of how apples looked prior to the 1900’s; green, round, and blemished. This apple would never be found on supermarket shelves today, as no one would buy it, despite its excellent quality.
From the description it sounds like an excellent apple for Southern California, and I’ll contact him to see if I can get scionwood.