Gala (apple)

Gala is an apple cultivar with a sweet, mild flavour, a crisp but not hard texture, and a striped or mottled orange or reddish appearance. Originating from New Zealand in the 1930s, similar to most named apples, it is clonally propagated. In 2018, it surpassed Red Delicious as the apple cultivar with the highest production in the United States, according to the US Apple Association. It was the first time in over 50 years that any cultivar was produced more than Red Delicious.[2]

SpeciesMalus domestica
Hybrid parentage'Kidd's Orange Red' × 'Golden Delicious'
Origin New Zealand, 1930s[1]

Appearance and flavour

Gala apples are non-uniform in colour, usually vertically striped or mottled, with overall orange colour.[1] They are sweet, fine textured, and aromatic,[1] and in addition to being eaten raw and cooked are especially suitable for creating sauces.[3]


The first Gala apple tree was one of many seedlings resulting from a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Kidd's Orange Red planted in New Zealand in the 1930s by orchardist J.H. Kidd. Donald W. McKenzie, an employee of Stark Bros Nursery, obtained a US plant patent for the cultivar on October 15, 1974.[4] It is a relatively new introduction to the UK, first planted in commercial volumes during the 1980s. The variety now represents about 20% of the total volume of the commercial production of eating apples grown in the UK, often replacing Cox's Orange Pippin.

Sports (mutations)

Many sports of Gala have been selected, mostly for increased red color, including the popular Royal Gala. The original cultivar produced fruit with orange stripes and a partial orange blush over a yellow background. Since then, several un-patented sports have been recognized. Additionally, more than twenty sports have received US plant patents:

Date "Inventor" Marketed as Mutated from Assignee Habit Pattern Earlier Color Plant patent number
Oct 15, 1974McKenzieGalaStarkstandardpartial blushyellowUS plant patent 3637
Oct 4, 1977Ten HoveRoyal Gala, TenroyGala3637StarkstandardstriperedUS plant patent 4121
May 10, 1988CreechScarlet Gala[5]Kidd's D-83637C & 0standardblushscarletUS plant patent 6172
Aug 1, 1989KiddleGalaxyTenroy4121Starkstandardstripeearlierintense redUS plant patent 6955
Dec 18, 1990CooperTreco Spur Red Gala No. 42, RegalAuvilOregon RootstockspurstriperedUS plant patent 7396
Jul 16, 1991FulfordFulfordKidd3637standardblushbright redUS plant patent 7589
Mar 1, 1994OlsenObrogala, UltraRedTenroy4121Starkstandardstripe2–4 daysredderUS plant patent 8621
Apr 5, 1994WaliserWaliser GalaTenroy4121Waliserstandardstripe10 daysbright redUS plant patent 8673
May 10, 1994HillApplewaitesKidd's3637standardblush2–3 daysmore complete redUS plant patent 8720
Nov 5, 1996OlsenOlsentwo Gala, Pacific GalaRoyal Gala4121standardstripe5–10 daysdistinguishably differentUS plant patent 9681
Sep 2, 1997BrookfieldBaigentRoyal Gala4121Brookfieldstandardstripeextremely earlybright redUS plant patent 10016
Nov 11, 1997GaleGale GalaRoyal Gala4121Van Wellstandardstripe3 weeksmore completeUS plant patent 10114
Jun 23, 1998FacklerBig Red GalaKidd's3637ProtreestandardstripesameUS plant patent 10458
Mar 30, 1999SimmonsSimmonsImperialPeace Valleystandardstripe21 daysbrighter redUS plant patent 10840
Jan 18, 2000StiekemaStiekema 1Obragala8621standardblushredUS plant patent 11182
Apr 11, 2000McSpadden, JrCaitlinTenroy4121Starkstandardstripe"earlier"US plant patent 11348
Aug 13, 2002BlackHarry BlackKidd's3637International Plant Managementstandardstripe5 wk. laterUS plant patent 12842
Apr 29, 2003BanningBanning GalaImperialstandardstripeintense red blush, darker stripeUS plant patent 13753
Jan 6, 2004SmithSmith galaTenroy4121standardstripeyellowUS plant patent 14448
May 4, 2004WeaverWeaverFulford7589Adams County Nurserymore compactblushbright redUS plant patent 14752
Jan 4, 2005LigonniereDalitogaImperialSNC Elarisstandardstripe3 wk.yellowUS plant patent 15465
Aug 15, 2006BurkittBurkitt GalaTenroy4121BMA Truststandardstripe10 d.completely redUS plant patent 17013
Feb 26, 2008McDonaldEl NiñoRoyal4121standardintense dark red stripebright redUS plant patent 18512
Jul 8, 2008McLaughlinMcLaughlin Gala, BlondeeKidd's3637standardno striping or blush4—6 d.yellowUS plant patent 19007
Dec 30, 2008FankhauserAlvniaGalaFankhauserstandardstripes"earlier"red, > 95A% coverageUS plant patent 19604
Apr 14, 2009RichardGalavalGalaxy6955Pepinieres du Valoisstandardblushintense dark purple brownUS plant patent 19909

Unpatented varieties include: Auvil, Imperial

Descendant cultivar(s)

  • Delfloga (Royal Gala × Florina) [6]
  • Jazz (Royal Gala × Braeburn)
  • Envy (Royal Gala × Braeburn)
  • Nicoter (Kanzi) (Gala × Braeburn) [7]
  • Sciros (Pacific Rose) (Splendor × Gala)[8]
  • Sweetie ('PremA280')


Gala apples are grown from May through September in the northern hemisphere, but, like most apples, are available almost all year through the use of cold storage and controlled atmosphere storage.[9] Australian Gala are available from late January. California fruit is available until October. While the season usually lasts only 9 or 10 months, they are able to last all year round. However, due to some apples continuing to be grown in some orchards, and the fact that they can be refrigerated for some months leads to the availability of the Gala apple year-round in some Australian markets. These usually taste different (slightly less sweet) from those in season. The UK season begins in late summer (August). Storage makes the UK fruit available nearly year-round as with fruit from other origins.

Royal Gala sport

Royal Gala is a Gala sport, patented by Stark in 1977, which produces redder fruits than the original cultivar. It is a pink-red dessert apple and is therefore usually eaten fresh. Royal Galas are usually harvested in early to late February in the southern hemisphere. In New Zealand, the pinker original Gala has almost disappeared as a commercial apple in favor of the darker-skinned Royal Gala.


  1. "Gala", National Fruit Collection, retrieved 31 October 2015
  2. 2018 Annual Review Archived 2019-01-24 at the Wayback Machine U.S. Apple Association.
  3. "Royal Gala Apples | Australian Apple Varieties | Aussie Apples". Archived from the original on 2015-08-26. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  4. US plant patent 3637
  5. US plant patent 7396
  6. "Delfloga". Government of Canada Plant Inspections. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  7. United States Patent PP17201
  8. Ltd, Orange Pippin. "Apple - Pacific Rose - tasting notes, identification, reviews". Orange Pippin - all about apples and orchards. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  9. McGlone, V.Andrew; Jordan, Robert B.; Martinsen, Paul J. (2002-06-01). "Vis/NIR estimation at harvest of pre- and post-storage quality indices for 'Royal Gala' apple". Postharvest Biology and Technology. 25 (2): 135–144. doi:10.1016/S0925-5214(01)00180-6. ISSN 0925-5214.
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