Historically fruit identification has involved visually eye balling a fruit and trying to determine its identity from this. As there are 000’s of varieties this is an error prone process and is largely dependent on the level of expertise of the identifier. Advances with DNA fingerprinting now allows us to identify fruits more quickly and more accurately in a laboratory and the Irish Seedsavers collection was fingerprinting between 2014 and 2015. Interested in possibly identifying your fruit? Read on…

Peter Laws of fruitID (www.fruitid.com) in the UK is organising an Apple, Pear and Cherry identification scheme through the East Malling laboratory NIAB-EMR in Kent, UK. Thankfully the service is also open to the general public in the Republic of  Ireland. The normal cost of identifying a single sample through NIAB-EMR is in excess of £100 but this scheme benefits from a bulk rate discount cost of circa £26 plus VAT per sample. This is the 3rd year this scheme has run and we don’t know when or if it will run in the future

Once fingerprinted, a variety is compared against 000’s of varieties already DNA profiled in the UK and and Ireland, including the Irish Seedsavers collection. Importantly, if your variety doesn’t match existing profiles you very probably have a unique variety in your garden. It is a very powerful tool for identifying your tree but it will also highlight unique fruit trees and Irish Seedsavers are still looking for uniquely Irish varieties that are suited to the Irish climate.

Importantly for us, if you choose to identify your fruit(s), in a later correspondence, you will receive a consent form from fruitID asking if you want to share your information with Irish Seedsaves or not. Please choose to share your results and personal information with Irish Seedsavers. This is an important aspect of our Irish fruit conservation strategy.

Please note, this is not an Irish Seedsavers scheme so please do not send leaf samples or payment to us. Finally, as per 2017, we understand NIAB-EMR will invoice individual participants for payment once the DNA fingerprinting has been completed.

For full details of how to apply click here