Goat-bash: the return of legend
Kandil mustard is one of the most famous varieties of Crimean apples

Goat-bash: the return of legend


” There are no apples like here anywhere else in the populated area. Or Sudanese apples… smell like musk and amber. These apples the size of five are placed in white boxes and sent to the Crimean khans, sultans and viziers. Their beauty and pleasure is not lost for a long time, color and taste do not change, they seem to have just been plucked from the tree. In short, there are no such apples as in Sudak in the inhabited quarter… ”- Evliya леelebi. Travel book. Crimea and adjacent areas. 1678 (Excerpts from the work of a Turkish traveler of the XVII century).

Goat-bash: the return of legend
The only illustration of a goat-bash apple preserved in Levko Simirenko’s Pomology

Back in the early 90’s of last century, a team of enthusiasts (including me), which gathered around the newspaper “Voice of Crimea” and the Republican Library. Ismail Gasprinsky, together with scientists from the Crimean Horticultural Station, in a short time created a collection of aboriginal varieties of fruit crops, conducted an inventory of the remains of tea plantations and began their expeditionary survey.

Then we managed to attract several dozen local ancient varieties of fruit crops, mainly apple and pear trees, to the collection plantations created at the research gardening station. The collection was also duplicated in several farms and individual gardens of amateur gardeners. We also managed to revive and bring back from oblivion the materials of the Symyrenkiv expedition to the Crimean gardens. We published them in the publishing house “Tavria” in 1996 in a separate monograph “Local ancient varieties of fruit crops of the Crimea.”

However, it was repeatedly emphasized that our team, unfortunately, failed to find and attract to the collection of aborigines one of the most prominent varieties of apple “Kozu-bash”. This variety, as noted by the unsurpassed expert in Crimean horticulture Levko Simirenko, began to disappear from industrial plantations in the late nineteenth century. The scientist, given its value for both science and industrial horticulture, expressed concern about losing it.

Unfortunately, these fears came true. In the process of reconstruction of the Crimean industrial gardens, this very valuable variety was lost. He also disappeared from homesteads. The Moscow occupiers dealt a deadly blow to traditional Crimean horticulture, especially tea gardens and local ancient varieties, in the first postwar year, after the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people. At that time, not only the rich material, but also the humanitarian and spiritual culture and science of this people, as well as the unique and original agriculture were destroyed. In fact, with the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, tea gardening, local varieties of fruit crops and grapes, and entire livestock industries perished.

All our efforts to find the glorious Kozu-bash in the Crimean gardens were unsuccessful. We did not find this variety in the world collections of fruit crops, collected in the All-Union Institute of Plant Breeding and the famous Pomological Collection of Levko Symyrenko in Cherkasy region.

However, enthusiasts did not lose hope to find the Crimean garden pearl. They constantly appealed to the old-timers through the Crimean media, arguing the importance of finding the once quite common and popular variety of apple as part of the horticultural culture of the Crimean Tatar people.

The biggest New Year’s gift for me this year was the message of my gardening colleague A. Server (surname changed – author) that the members of our group still managed to find an old tree of the famous Kozu-bash in Belogorsk (Karasubazar) district. Preliminary pomological research has shown that the found specimen coincides in almost all parameters with the highly professional description of Kozu-bash made by Levko Simirenko.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate my friends on a very important and valuable scientific achievement and wish the return of the find to the Crimean gardens. I hope that in the near future we will create industrial plantations of this variety in the Ukrainian Crimea.


Goat bash (head of lamb)

Kozu-bash is a showy, big apple. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best Crimean varieties. Translated from the Crimean Tatar means “head of a lamb”. However, the fruit has nothing in common with a lamb’s head.

Significant groups of Kozu-basha occur only in the gardens of the Karasubazar district, namely: Azamati, Dzhepari, in the gardens of the Bobovich brothers, Shishman and others. Single trees of Kozu-basha are found in almost every Tatar garden, more often in the old plantations, because now in the new gardens this variety is not planted. However, is such ignoring a justification and evidence of the progress of Crimean gardening? After all, in its natural (niche) zone Kozu-bash is more profitable compared to the demanding Saffron (Parmen winter gold).

Goat-bash: the return of legend
Kandil mustard is one of the most famous varieties of Crimean apples

It is clear that the most favorable natural conditions and the best lands should be used to grow the best and most valuable varieties. But do we have many such areas? That is why the fruits of local Crimean varieties (except perhaps Candilla mustard) are of lower quality, compared to the more refined French variety. But the first varieties are more adapted and have, as a rule, more powerful trees. Their unpretentiousness and endurance are those qualities that no one doubts about the local Tatar varieties. So it will be a pity if Kozu-bash and some other aboriginal varieties eventually disappear from the Crimean gardens. Speaking of Goat-bash, it is necessary to emphasize its high resistance of leaves and fruits to the main infectious disease of apple – scab (scab). The fruit is never affected by this disease. The Owak Garden had a rather interesting spectacle in the summer of 1888.Then the fruits of all Western European varieties were completely affected by this fungal disease and had an ugly appearance. While only one Kozu-bash impressed with his pure red shirt. Almost as well, the fruits of this variety are not damaged by fruit eaters, so among them there are no worms.

Obviously, in the Crimea there are almost four varieties of this variety. Two of them are found in the gardens of OG Banglyarov in Ovak. They differ more in the nature of growth and yield of trees than in the morphological characteristics and quality of the fruits themselves. The trees of the first have a pyramidal crown, their fruits are large and are tied alone or in pairs. In others – the crown is spherical and they have a generous yield. However, their fruits are smaller, have a more flattened shape and are tied in bunches of 3-4 pieces each.

In the garden of AA Crimea (formerly Hamarito) there are two more varieties: Goat-bash white and Goat-bash striped. Its fruits resemble Calville the Red in appearance.

Kozu-bash is willing to be exported and the price for this apple is the same as for Sarah Sinap. Due to the large size of the fruit they are often placed in containers of no more than three rows. According to Zvedenie, 536 Kozu-basha trees have been registered in the gardens of Simferopol district.

From the book: LP Simirenko. – “Local ancient varieties of fruit crops of the Crimea.” – Simferopol, “Tavria”, 1996, – P. 83-85. Compiled by Petro Volvach.

Translated from Russian by Peter Volvach, Peter Volvach, “Crimean Room” № 7, 2018.

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

The project was implemented with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

Petro Volvach

Author of cultural materials, full member of NTSh, member of NSPU, honored worker of science and technology of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Crimean citizen with 60 years of experience, journalist of the newspaper "Crimean room". Publisher: «Publishing House “Ukrainian Culture» LLC

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: