5 types of apples, once thought extinct, are rediscovered

An "apple detective" discovered rare apple trees growing in Whitman County.

Five types of apples, once thought to be extinct, have been rediscovered in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

The Lewiston Tribune newspaper reported Monday that "apple detective" David Benscoter located the trees growing near Steptoe Butte on the rolling hills of the Palouse.

Benscoter worked with apple experts at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon and Fedco Seeds in Maine to get positive identifications on the fruit. The apples were compared to written descriptions from old books and antique watercolor paintings.

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The newly rediscovered apples include the Shackleford, Saxon Priest, Kittageskee, Ewalt and McAffee varietals.

Benscoter is still on the hunt for other forgotten fruit. So far he's found 20 more varieties that he thinks may have been considered lost or extremely rare, based on old county fair records.