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Investigator finds 2 lost apple varieties on Steptoe Butte

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Artist Charles Steadman painted this watercolor of a Nero apple, now in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection, in 1925. Nero was believed to be lost; WSU researchers are trying to bring it back using cuttings from a ‘lost’ Palouse orchard. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library (WSU)

SPOKANE, Wash. — A researcher has found two lost apple varieties on the slopes of Steptoe Butte in eastern Washington.

Hundreds of century-old apple trees dot the butte rising from the Palouse south of Spokane.

A retired man from Chattaroy has been studying the apple trees for years in search of lost varieties.

The Spokesman-Review says Dave Benscoter this week announced that heirloom apple experts had confirmed his finds of the previously lost Arkansas Beauty and Dickinson apples varieties at Steptoe Butte.

They are the second and third lost apple varieties rediscovered by Benscoter over the past several years.

Benscoter last year announced he had found the Nero apple at Steptoe Butte.