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An apple is an edible
fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruit
produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple
trees In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organiz ...

trees
are
cultivated
cultivated
worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the
genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying gr ...
''
Malus ''Malus'' ( or ) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including t ...

Malus
''. The tree originated in
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
, where its wild ancestor, ''
Malus sieversii ''Malus sieversii'' is a wild apple native to the mountains of Central Asia Central Asia is a region in which stretches from the in the west to and in the east, and from and in the south to in the north, including the former of , , , ...

Malus sieversii
'', is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
and
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have
religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religious
and
mythological Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as gods, demigods, and other supernatural figures ...

mythological
significance in many cultures, including
Norse Norse is demonym for Norsemen, a medieval North Germanic ethnolinguistic group ancestral to modern Scandinavians, defined as speakers of Old Norse from about the 9th to the 13th centuries. Norse may also refer to: Culture and religion * Norse m ...
,
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, and European Christian tradition. Apple trees are large if grown from seed. Generally, apple
cultivar A cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by a method such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production. Most cultivars arise from purposeful human ...
s are propagated by
grafting Grafting or graftage is a horticultural Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and h ...
onto
rootstock A rootstock is part of a plant, often an underground part, from which new above-ground growth can be produced. It could also be described as a stem with a well developed root system, to which a bud from another plant is grafted. It can refer to a r ...
s, which control the size of the resulting tree. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and use, including
cooking Cooking, cookery, or culinary arts is the art, science, and craft of using heat In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy ...
, eating raw and
cider Cider ( ) is an alcoholic beverage made from the Fermentation (food), fermented juice of apples. Cider is widely available in the United Kingdom (particularly in the West Country) and the Republic of Ireland. The UK has the world's highest per c ...
production. Trees and fruit are prone to a number of
fungal A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically denotes a quantity great ...

fungal
, bacterial and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of
organic Organic may refer to: * Organic, of or relating to an organism, a living entity * Organic, of or relating to an anatomical organ (anatomy), organ Chemistry * Organic matter, matter that has come from a once-living organism, is capable of decay or ...
and non-organic means. In 2010, the fruit's
genome In the fields of molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, M ...

genome
was
sequenced In genetics Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Hartl D, Jones E (2005) Though heredity had been observed for millennia, Gregor Mendel, Moravia, Moravian scientist ...

sequenced
as part of research on disease control and selective breeding in apple production. Worldwide production of apples in 2018 was 86 million
tonnes The tonne ( or ; symbol: t) is a metric unit of mass equal to 1,000 kilogram The kilogram (also kilogramme) is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units (SI), the current metric system, having the unit symbol kg. I ...
, with
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
accounting for nearly half of the total.


Etymology

The word ''apple'', formerly spelled in
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
, is derived from the
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
root , which could also mean
fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruit
in general. This is ultimately derived from
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
, but the precise original meaning and the relationship between both words is uncertain. As late as the 17th century, the word also functioned as a generic term for all fruit other than
berries A berry is a small, pulpy, and often edible fruit. Typically, berries are juicy, rounded, brightly colored, sweet, sour or tart, and do not have a stone or pit, although many pips or seeds may be present. Common examples are strawberries, raspbe ...

berries
but including
nut Nut often refers to: * Nut (fruit), a fruit composed of a hard shell and a seed * Nut (food), collective noun for dry and edible fruits or seeds * Nut (hardware), a fastener used with a bolt Nut or Nuts may also refer to: Places * Nomenclature of ...
s—such as the 14th century
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
word , meaning a
banana A banana is an elongated, edible fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms dissemin ...

banana
. This use is analogous to the
French language French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of inf ...

French language
use of .


Description

The apple is a
deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists are agriculturists who grow flowers, fruits and nuts, ...
tree, generally standing tall in cultivation and up to in the wild. When cultivated, the size, shape and branch density are determined by
rootstock A rootstock is part of a plant, often an underground part, from which new above-ground growth can be produced. It could also be described as a stem with a well developed root system, to which a bud from another plant is grafted. It can refer to a r ...
selection and trimming method. The leaves are alternately arranged dark green-colored simple ovals with serrated margins and slightly downy undersides.
Blossoms Image:Cerisier du Japon Prunus serrulata.jpg, Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, trees (genus ''Prunus'') and of some other plants with a similar appearance that flower profusely f ...
are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves and are produced on spurs and some long
shoots In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anci ...

shoots
. The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five
petal Petals are modified leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit together fo ...

petal
ed, with an
inflorescence An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, trees (genus ''Prunus'') and of some ...
consisting of a cyme with 4–6 flowers. The central flower of the inflorescence is called the "king bloom"; it opens first and can develop a larger fruit. The fruit matures in late summer or autumn, and cultivars exist in a wide range of sizes. Commercial growers aim to produce an apple that is in diameter, due to market preference. Some consumers, especially those in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
, prefer a larger apple, while apples below are generally used for making juice and have little fresh market value. The skin of ripe apples is generally red, yellow, green, pink, or russetted, though many bi- or tri-colored cultivars may be found. The skin may also be wholly or partly russeted i.e. rough and brown. The skin is covered in a protective layer of
epicuticular wax Epicuticular wax is a coating of wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are lipophi ...
. The exocarp (flesh) is generally pale yellowish-white, though pink or yellow exocarps also occur.


Wild ancestors

The original wild ancestor of ''Malus domestica'' was ''Malus sieversii'', found growing wild in the
mountains of Central Asia The Mountains of Central Asia are a biodiversity hot spot designated by Conservation International which covers several montane and :wikt:alpine, alpine ecoregions of Central Asia, including those of the Pamir Mountains, Pamir and Tian Shan ranges, ...
in southern
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
,
Kyrgyzstan russian: Киргизская Республика, Kirgizskaya Respublika , image_flag = Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg , image_coat = Emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg , symbol_type = Emblem , motto = " ...

Kyrgyzstan
,
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
, and
northwestern China Northwest China () is a statistical region of China which includes the autonomous regions of Xinjiang Xinjiang, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as Sinkiang; officially Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regio ...

northwestern China
. Cultivation of the species, most likely beginning on the forested flanks of the
Tian Shan The Tian Shan,; dng, Тянсан, ; otk, 𐰴𐰣 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, ; tr, Tanrı Dağı; mn, Тэнгэр уул, ; ug, تەڭرىتاغ, , ; kk, Тәңіртауы / Алатау, , ; ky, Теңир-Тоо / Ала-Тоо, , ; uz, Tyan- ...

Tian Shan
mountains, progressed over a long period of time and permitted secondary
introgression Introgression, also known as introgressive hybridization, in genetics Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Hartl D, Jones E (2005) Though heredity had been observed fo ...
of genes from other species into the open-pollinated seeds. Significant exchange with ''
Malus sylvestris ''Malus sylvestris'', the European crab apple, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defin ...

Malus sylvestris
'', the crabapple, resulted in current populations of apples being more related to crabapples than to the more morphologically similar progenitor ''Malus sieversii''. In strains without recent admixture the contribution of the latter predominates.


Genome

Apple is diploid (though triploid cultivars are not uncommon), has 17 chromosomes and an estimated
genome In the fields of molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, M ...

genome
size of approximately 650 Mb. Several whole genome sequences have been made available, the first one in 2010 was based on the diploid cultivar ‘
Golden Delicious 'Golden Delicious' is a yellow apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. ...

Golden Delicious
’. However, this first whole genome sequence turned out to contain several errors in part owing to the high degree of heterozygosity in diploid apples which, in combination with an ancient genome duplication, complicated the assembly. Recently, double- and trihaploid individuals have been sequenced, yielding whole genome sequences of higher quality. The first whole genome assembly was estimated to contain around 57,000 genes, though the more recent genome sequences support more moderate estimates between 42,000 and 44,700 protein-coding genes. Among other things, the availability of whole genome sequences has provided evidence that the wild ancestor of the cultivated apple most likely is ''Malus sieversii''. Re-sequencing of multiple accessions has supported this, while also suggesting extensive introgression from ''Malus sylvestris'' following domestication.


History

''
Malus sieversii ''Malus sieversii'' is a wild apple native to the mountains of Central Asia Central Asia is a region in which stretches from the in the west to and in the east, and from and in the south to in the north, including the former of , , , ...

Malus sieversii
'' is recognized as a major progenitor species to the cultivated apple, and is morphologically similar. Due to the genetic variability in Central Asia, this region is generally considered the center of origin for apples. The apple is thought to have been domesticated 4000–10000 years ago in the
Tian Shan The Tian Shan,; dng, Тянсан, ; otk, 𐰴𐰣 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, ; tr, Tanrı Dağı; mn, Тэнгэр уул, ; ug, تەڭرىتاغ, , ; kk, Тәңіртауы / Алатау, , ; ky, Теңир-Тоо / Ала-Тоо, , ; uz, Tyan- ...

Tian Shan
mountains, and then to have travelled along the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
to Europe, with hybridization and introgression of wild crabapples from Siberia (''M. baccata''), the Caucasus (''M. orientalis''), and Europe (''M. sylvestris''). Only the ''M. sieversii'' trees growing on the western side of the Tian Shan mountains contributed genetically to the domesticated apple, not the isolated population on the eastern side. Chinese soft apples, such as '' M. asiatica'' and ''
M. prunifolia ( , ; pl. , ; 1512, from Middle French Middle French (french: moyen français) is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from the 14th to the 16th century. It is a period of transition during which: * the French ...
'', have been cultivated as dessert apples for more than 2000 years in China. These are thought to be hybrids between ''M. baccata'' and ''M. sieversii'' in Kazakhstan. Among the traits selected for by human growers are size, fruit acidity, color, firmness, and soluble sugar. Unusually for domesticated fruits, the wild ''M. sieversii'' origin is only slightly smaller than the modern domesticated apple. At the Sammardenchia-Cueis site near Udine in Northeastern Italy, seeds from some form of apples have been found in material carbon dated to around 4000 BCE. Genetic analysis has not yet been successfully used to determine whether such ancient apples were wild ''Malus sylvestris'' or ''Malus domesticus'' containing ''Malus sieversii'' ancestry. It is generally also hard to distinguish in the archeological record between foraged wild apples and apple plantations. There is indirect evidence of apple cultivation in the third millennium BCE in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
. There was substantial apple production in the European classical antiquity, and grafting was certainly known then. Grafting is an essential part of modern domesticated apple production, to be able to propagate the best cultivars; it is unclear when apple tree grafting was invented. Winter apples, picked in late autumn and stored just above freezing, have been an important food in
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
and Europe for millennia. Of the many Old World plants that the Spanish introduced to
Chiloé Archipelago The Chiloé Archipelago ( es, Archipiélago de Chiloé, , ) is a group of islands lying off the coast of Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entir ...
in the 16th century, apple trees became particularly well adapted. Apples were introduced to North America by colonists in the 17th century, and the first apple orchard on the North American continent was planted in
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st List of Unit ...

Boston
by Reverend
William Blaxton Reverend William Blaxton (also spelled William Blackstone) (1595– 26 May 1675) was an early English settler in New England and the first European settler of Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and ...
in 1625. The only apples native to North America are crab apples, which were once called "common apples". Apple cultivars brought as seed from Europe were spread along Native American trade routes, as well as being cultivated on colonial farms. An 1845 United States apples nursery catalogue sold 350 of the "best" cultivars, showing the proliferation of new North American cultivars by the early 19th century. In the 20th century, irrigation projects in
Eastern Washington Eastern Washington is the region of the U.S. state of Washington located east of the Cascade Range. It contains the city of Spokane (the second largest city in the state), the Tri-Cities, the Columbia River The Columbia River (Upper C ...
began and allowed the development of the multibillion-dollar fruit industry, of which the apple is the leading product. Until the 20th century, farmers stored apples in during the winter for their own use or for sale. Improved transportation of fresh apples by train and road replaced the necessity for storage.
Controlled atmosphere A controlled atmosphere is an Agriculture, agricultural storage method in which the concentrations of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, as well as the temperature and humidity of a storage room are regulated. Both dry commodities and fresh fruit ...
facilities are used to keep apples fresh year-round. Controlled atmosphere facilities use high humidity, low oxygen, and controlled carbon dioxide levels to maintain fruit freshness. They were first used in the United States in the 1960s.


Significance in European cultures and societies


Germanic paganism

In
Norse mythology Norse or Scandinavian mythology is the body of myths Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. ...
, the goddess
Iðunn In Norse mythology Norse mythology is the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia, and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period. The n ...
is portrayed in the ''
Prose Edda The ''Prose Edda'', also known as the ''Younger Edda'', ''Snorri's Edda'' ( is, Snorra Edda) or, historically, simply as ''Edda'', is an Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic di ...
'' (written in the 13th century by
Snorri Sturluson Snorri Sturluson (Old Norse: ; ; 1179 – 23 September 1241) was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. He was elected twice as lawspeaker of the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He is commonly thought to have authored or compiled port ...
) as providing apples to the
gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...

gods
that give them
eternal youth ''Youth and Time'', John William Godward, 1901 Eternal youth is the concept of human physical immortality free of ageing. The youth referred to is usually meant to be in contrast to the depredations of aging, rather than a specific age of the hum ...
fulness. The English scholar H. R. Ellis Davidson links apples to religious practices in
Germanic paganism Germanic paganism included various religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religio ...
, from which
Norse paganism Old Norse Religion, also known as Norse Paganism, is the most common name for a branch of Germanic religion which developed during the Proto-Norse Proto-Norse (also called Ancient Nordic, Ancient Scandinavian, Ancient Norse, Primitive ...
developed. She points out that buckets of apples were found in the
Oseberg ship The Oseberg ship (Norwegian: ''Osebergskipet'') is a well-preserved Viking ship Viking ships were marine vessels of unique structure, used in Scandinavia from the Viking Age The Viking Age (793–1066 AD) was the period during the Middle A ...
burial site in Norway, that fruit and nuts (Iðunn having been described as being transformed into a nut in ''
Skáldskaparmál ''Skáldskaparmál'' (Old Norse: 'The Language of Poetry'; c. 50,000 words; ; ) is the second part of Snorri Sturluson's ''Prose Edda''. It is a dialogue between Ægir, the divine personification of the sea, and Bragi, the god of poetry, in which ...
'') have been found in the early graves of the
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

Germanic peoples
in England and elsewhere on the continent of Europe, which may have had a symbolic meaning, and that nuts are still a recognized symbol of
fertility Fertility is the capability to produce offspring through reproduction following the onset of sexual maturity. The fertility rate is the average number of children born by a female during her lifetime and is quantified Demography, demographicall ...
in southwest England. Davidson notes a connection between apples and the
Vanir In Norse mythology Norse or Scandinavian mythology is the body of myths Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, ...
, a tribe of gods associated with
fertility Fertility is the capability to produce offspring through reproduction following the onset of sexual maturity. The fertility rate is the average number of children born by a female during her lifetime and is quantified Demography, demographicall ...
in Norse mythology, citing an instance of eleven "golden apples" being given to woo the beautiful
Gerðr In Norse mythology, Gerðr (Old Norse: ; "fenced-in"Orchard (1997:54).) is a jötunn, Æsir, goddess, and the wife of the god Freyr. Gerðr is attested in the ''Poetic Edda'', compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the ''P ...
by Skírnir, who was acting as messenger for the major Vanir god
Freyr Freyr (: 'Lord'), sometimes anglicized as Frey, is a widely attested god in , associated with , fertility, peace, prosperity, and virility, with sunshine and fair weather, and with good harvest. Freyr, sometimes referred to as -Freyr, was espec ...

Freyr
in stanzas 19 and 20 of '' Skírnismál''. Davidson also notes a further connection between fertility and apples in Norse mythology in chapter 2 of the ''
Völsunga saga The ''Völsunga saga'' (often referred to in English as the ''Volsunga Saga'' or ''Saga of the Völsungs'') is a legendary saga A legendary saga or ''fornaldarsaga'' (literally, "story/history of the ancient era") is a Norse saga that, unlike the ...
'': when the major goddess
Frigg Frigg (; Old Norse: ) is a goddess in Germanic mythology. In Norse mythology, the source of most surviving information about her, she is associated with marriage, prophecy, clairvoyance and motherhood, and dwells in the wetland halls of Fensa ...
sends King
Rerir In '' Völsunga saga'', Rerir, the son of Sigi In the Völsung cycle, Sigi is the ancestor of the Völsunga saga, Völsung lineage. In the ''Völsunga saga'', he is said to be one of the sons of Odin. He is also listed among Odin's sons in the ' ...
an apple after he prays to Odin for a child, Frigg's messenger (in the guise of a crow) drops the apple in his lap as he sits atop a
mound A mound is a heaped pile of earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is ...

mound
. Rerir's wife's consumption of the apple results in a six-year pregnancy and the birth (by
Caesarean section Caesarean section, also known as C-section, or caesarean delivery, is the surgical procedure Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical or dental ...
) of their son—the hero
Völsung In Norse mythology, Völsung ( non, Vǫlsungr ) was the son of Rerir and the eponymous ancestor of the ill-fated Völsung clan (), which includes the well known Norse hero Sigurð. He was murdered by the Geatish king Siggeir and later avenged by on ...
. Further, Davidson points out the "strange" phrase "Apples of Hel" used in an 11th-century poem by the
skald A Skald, or skáld (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken b ...
Thorbiorn Brúnarson. She states this may imply that the apple was thought of by Brúnarson as the food of the dead. Further, Davidson notes that the potentially Germanic goddess
Nehalennia , Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Dutch Caribbean, Caribbean. It is the largest of four Kingdom of the Netherlands#Constituent c ...

Nehalennia
is sometimes depicted with apples and that parallels exist in early Irish stories. Davidson asserts that while cultivation of the apple in Northern Europe extends back to at least the time of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
and came to Europe from the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
, the native varieties of apple trees growing in Northern Europe are small and bitter. Davidson concludes that in the figure of Iðunn "we must have a dim reflection of an old symbol: that of the guardian goddess of the life-giving fruit of the other world."


Greek mythology

Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or
forbidden fruit Forbidden fruit is a name given to the fruit growing in the Garden of Eden which God commands mankind Taboo#In_religion_and_mythology, not to eat. In the biblical story, Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil an ...

forbidden fruit
. One of the problems identifying apples in religion,
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...

mythology
and is that the word "apple" was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit, other than berries, including nuts, as late as the 17th century. For instance, in
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
, the
Greek hero Hero cults were one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion. In Homeric Greek, "hero" (, ) refers to the mortal offspring of a human and a god. By the historical period, however, the word came to mean specifically a ''dead'' m ...
Heracles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, , glory/fame of Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρα, Hḗrā; grc, Ἥρη, Hḗrē, label=none in Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in anci ...

Heracles
, as a part of his Twelve Labours, was required to travel to the Garden of the Hesperides and pick the golden apples off the
Tree of Life #REDIRECT Tree of life#REDIRECT Tree of life The tree of life is a fundamental widespread mytheme or archetype in many of the world's mythology, mythologies, religion, religious and philosophy, philosophical traditions. It is closely related ...

Tree of Life
growing at its center. The Greek goddess of discord, Eris, became disgruntled after she was excluded from the wedding of
Peleus by the Edinburgh Painter, c. 500 BC, (National Archaeological Museum of Athens The National Archaeological Museum ( el, Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο) in Athens houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety o ...
and
Thetis Thetis (; grc-gre, Θέτις ), is a figure from Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, ori ...

Thetis
. In retaliation, she tossed a
golden apple The golden apple is an element that appears in various national and ethnic folk legends or fairy tales. Recurring themes depict a hero (for example Hercules or Făt-Frumos) retrieving the golden apple (symbolism), apples hidden or stolen by a monst ...

golden apple
inscribed Καλλίστη (''Kalliste'', sometimes transliterated ''Kallisti'', "For the most beautiful one"), into the wedding party. Three goddesses claimed the apple:
Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρα, Hḗrā; grc, Ἥρη, Hḗrē, label=none in Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic s ...

Hera
,
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied ...

Athena
, and
Aphrodite Aphrodite; , , ) is an ancient Greek goddess associated with love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, ...

Aphrodite
.
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...
of
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
was appointed to select the recipient. After being bribed by both Hera and Athena, Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world,
Helen Helen may refer to: People * Helen of Troy, in Greek mythology, the most beautiful woman in the world * Helen (actress) (born 1938), Indian actress * Helen (given name), a given name (including a list of people with the name) Places * Helen, Ge ...

Helen
of
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite, thus indirectly causing the
Trojan War In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Homer), Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris (mythology), Paris of Troy took Helen of Troy, Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. The war is one of the ...
. The apple was thus considered, in ancient Greece, sacred to Aphrodite. To throw an apple at someone was to symbolically declare one's love; and similarly, to catch it was to symbolically show one's acceptance of that love. An epigram claiming authorship by Plato states:
Atalanta Atalanta (; grc-gre, Ἀταλάντη ''Atalantē'') meaning "equal in weight", is a heroine in Greek mythology. There are two versions of the huntress Atalanta, one from Arcadia (region), Arcadia whose parents were Iasus and Clymene (mytholo ...

Atalanta
, also of Greek mythology, raced all her suitors in an attempt to avoid marriage. She outran all but
Hippomenes :''The name Hippomenes may also refer to the father of Leimone.''Image:Guido_Reni_-_Atalanta_e_Ippomene_(Napoli).jpg, 200px, ''Atalanta and Hippomenes'', Guido Reni, c. 1622–25 In Greek mythology, Hippomenes ( grc, Ἱππομένης), also ...

Hippomenes
(also known as Melanion, a name possibly derived from ''melon'' the Greek word for both "apple" and fruit in general), who defeated her by cunning, not speed. Hippomenes knew that he could not win in a fair race, so he used three golden apples (gifts of Aphrodite, the goddess of love) to distract Atalanta. It took all three apples and all of his speed, but Hippomenes was finally successful, winning the race and Atalanta's hand.


Christian art

Though the forbidden fruit of
Eden Eden may refer to: *Garden of Eden, the "garden of God" described in the Book of Genesis Places and jurisdictions Middle East * Eden, Lebanon, a city and former bishopric * Camp Eden, Iraq Oceania * Eden (New Zealand electorate), a former ...

Eden
in the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including th ...

Book of Genesis
is not identified, popular Christian tradition has held that it was an apple that
Eve Eve (; ; ar, حَوَّاء, Ḥawwāʾ; el, Εὕα, Heúa; la, Eva, Heva; : romanized: ) is a figure in the in the . According to the origin story, "Creation myths are symbolic stories describing how the universe and its inhabitants came ...

Eve
coaxed
Adam Adam (; Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long his ...

Adam
to share with her. The origin of the popular identification with a fruit unknown in the Middle East in biblical times is found in confusion between the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
words ''mālum'' (an apple) and ''mălum'' (an evil), each of which is normally written ''malum''. The tree of the forbidden fruit is called "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" in , and the Latin for "good and evil" is ''bonum et malum''.
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
painters may also have been influenced by the story of the
golden apple The golden apple is an element that appears in various national and ethnic folk legends or fairy tales. Recurring themes depict a hero (for example Hercules or Făt-Frumos) retrieving the golden apple (symbolism), apples hidden or stolen by a monst ...
s in the
Garden of Hesperides In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...

Garden of Hesperides
. As a result, in the story of Adam and Eve, the apple became a symbol for knowledge, immortality, temptation, the fall of man into sin, and sin itself. The
larynx The larynx (), commonly called the voice box, is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist ...

larynx
in the human throat has been called the "
Adam's apple The Adam's apple or laryngeal prominence, is the lump or protrusion in the human neck The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular e ...
" because of a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit remaining in the throat of Adam. The apple as symbol of sexual
seduction Seduction has multiple meanings. Platonically, it can mean "to persuade to disobedience or disloyalty", or "to lead astray, usually by persuasion or false promises". Strategies of seduction include conversation and sexual scripts, paralingual fe ...
has been used to imply human sexuality, possibly in an ironic vein.


Proverb

The
proverb A proverb (from la, proverbium) is a simple and insightful, traditional saying A saying is any concisely written or spoken expression (linguistics), expression that is especially memorable because of its meaning or style. Sayings are categorize ...

proverb
, " An apple a day keeps the doctor away", addressing the supposed health benefits of the fruit, has been traced to 19th-century
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
, where the original phrase was "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread". In the 19th century and early 20th, the phrase evolved to "an apple a day, no doctor to pay" and "an apple a day sends the doctor away"; the phrasing now commonly used was first recorded in 1922. Despite the proverb, there is no evidence that eating an apple daily has any significant health effects.


Cultivars

There are more than 7,500 known
cultivar A cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by a method such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production. Most cultivars arise from purposeful human ...
s (cultivated varieties) of apples. Cultivars vary in their
yield Yield may refer to: Measures of output/function Computer science * Yield (multithreading) is an action that occurs in a computer program during multithreading * See generator (computer programming) Physics/chemistry * Yield (chemistry), the amou ...
and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same
rootstock A rootstock is part of a plant, often an underground part, from which new above-ground growth can be produced. It could also be described as a stem with a well developed root system, to which a bud from another plant is grafted. It can refer to a r ...
. Different cultivars are available for
temperate In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populati ...
and
subtropical The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country locat ...

subtropical
climates. The UK's National Fruit Collection, which is the responsibility of the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, includes a collection of over 2,000 cultivars of apple tree in Kent. The University of Reading, which is responsible for developing the UK national collection database, provides access to search the national collection. The University of Reading's work is part of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources of which there are 38 countries participating in the Malus/Pyrus work group. The UK's national fruit collection database contains much information on the characteristics and origin of many apples, including alternative names for what is essentially the same "genetic" apple cultivar. Most of these cultivars are bred for eating fresh (dessert apples), though some are cultivated specifically for cooking (
cooking apple Yellow Gravenstein A cooking apple or culinary apple is an apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown s ...
s) or producing
cider Cider ( ) is an alcoholic beverage made from the Fermentation (food), fermented juice of apples. Cider is widely available in the United Kingdom (particularly in the West Country) and the Republic of Ireland. The UK has the world's highest per c ...

cider
.
Cider apple Cider apples are a group of apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tr ...
s are typically too tart and astringent to eat fresh, but they give the beverage a rich flavor that dessert apples cannot. Commercially popular apple cultivars are soft but crisp. Other desirable qualities in modern commercial apple breeding are a colorful skin, absence of
russeting Russeting or russetting is an abnormality of fruit skin which manifests in russet (color), russet-colored (brownish) patches that are rougher than healthy skin. It is a common feature in apples and pears. Russeting is typically an undesirable trait ...
, ease of shipping, lengthy storage ability, high yields, disease resistance, common apple shape, and developed flavor. Modern apples are generally sweeter than older cultivars, as popular tastes in apples have varied over time. Most North Americans and Europeans favor sweet, subacid apples, but tart apples have a strong minority following. Extremely sweet apples with barely any acid flavor are popular in Asia, especially the Indian Subcontinent. Old cultivars are often oddly shaped, russeted, and grow in a variety of textures and colors. Some find them to have better flavor than modern cultivars, but they may have other problems that make them commercially unviable—low yield, disease susceptibility, poor tolerance for storage or transport, or just being the "wrong" size. A few old cultivars are still produced on a large scale, but many have been preserved by home gardeners and farmers that sell directly to local markets. Many unusual and locally important cultivars with their own unique taste and appearance exist; apple conservation campaigns have sprung up around the world to preserve such local cultivars from extinction. In the United Kingdom, old cultivars such as '
Cox's Orange Pippin Cox's Orange Pippin, in Britain often referred to simply as Cox, is an apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely ...
' and '
Egremont Russet The Egremont Russet is a cultivar '' 'Pink Whirls' A cultivar selected for its intriguing and colourful flowers A cultivarCultivar () has two denominations as explained in ''#Formal definition, Formal definition''. When referring to a taxon, ...
' are still commercially important even though by modern standards they are low yielding and susceptible to disease. File:Alice (apple).jpg, 'Alice' File:Ambrosia apples 2017 A3.jpg, '
Ambrosia In the ancient Greek mythology, Greek myths, ''ambrosia'' (, grc, ἀμβροσία, "immortality") is the food or drink of the Greek gods, often depicted as conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever consumed it. It was brought to the gods ...
' File:Malus-Ananasrenette.jpg, 'Ananasrenette' File:Arkansas Black apples (cropped).jpg, 'Arkansas Black' File:Aroma (apple).jpg, 'Aroma' File:Malus-Boskoop organic.jpg, '
Belle de Boskoop Belle de Boskoop (also called Goudrenet, Goudreinet or Goudreinnette) is an apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most wid ...

Belle de Boskoop
' File:Bramley's Seedling Apples.jpg, 'Bramley' File:Cox orange renette2.JPG, '
Cox's Orange Pippin Cox's Orange Pippin, in Britain often referred to simply as Cox, is an apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely ...
' File:Cox’s Pomona.jpg, 'Cox Pomona' File:Pink Lady Apple (4107712628).jpg, '
Cripps Pink Cripps Pink is a cultivar (cultivated variety) of apple. It is one of several cultivars sold under the Trademark, trade mark name . Cripps Pink was originally bred by John Cripps at the (then named) Western Australia Department of Agriculture (We ...
' File:Discovery apples.jpg, '
Discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) Discovery is the act of detecting something new, or something previously unrecognized as meaningful. With reference to sciences and academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic fi ...
' File:Cross section of Egremont Russet (EMLA 1), National Fruit Collection (acc. 1979-159).jpg, '
Egremont Russet The Egremont Russet is a cultivar '' 'Pink Whirls' A cultivar selected for its intriguing and colourful flowers A cultivarCultivar () has two denominations as explained in ''#Formal definition, Formal definition''. When referring to a taxon, ...
' File:Fuji apple.jpg, '
FujiFuji may refer to: Places China * Fuji, Xiangcheng City (付集镇), town in Xiangcheng City Xiangcheng () is a county-level city in Zhoukou, Henan, People's Republic of China. It borders Shenqiu to the east, Shangcai to the west, Huaiyang County, ...
' File:Red Apple.jpg, '
Gala Gala may refer to: Agriculture *Gala (apple), a type of apple grown particularly in New Zealand. Events and festivities * Gala (festivity) * Swimming gala, an amateur swimming competition, often known as a ''swimming carnival'' in Australia. Fi ...
' File:Jabuke Gloster na stablu.2.jpg, '
GlosterGloster may refer to: People with the surname * Elizabeth Gloster (born 1949), English judge * J. Gary Gloster (born 1936), American bishop in The Episcopal Church * John Gloster (born before 1998), Australian physiotherapist who works with cricket ...
' File:Golden delicious apple.jpg, '
Golden Delicious 'Golden Delicious' is a yellow apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. ...

Golden Delicious
' File:Apfel-Berlepsch.jpg, 'Goldrenette', ('
Reinette Image:Deutsche Pomologie - Aepfel - 042.jpg, 300px, The'' 'Reine des reinettes' '' apple Reinette (French language, French for ''Little Queen''), often ''Rennet'' in English, and popular in Italian cuisine as ''Renetta'', is the name of a number o ...
') File:Granny smith closeup.jpg, '
Granny Smith The Granny Smith, also known as a green apple or sour apple, is a tip-bearing apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the mos ...

Granny Smith
' File:Honeycrisp.jpg, '
Honeycrisp Honeycrisp (''Malus pumila'') is an List of apple cultivars, apple cultivar (cultivated variety) developed at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station's Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnes ...

Honeycrisp
' File:Malus-James-Grieve.jpg, 'James Grieve' File:Jonagold.jpg, '
Jonagold Jonagold is a cultivar '' 'Pink Whirls' A cultivar selected for its intriguing and colourful flowers A cultivarCultivar () has two denominations as explained in ''#Formal definition, Formal definition''. When referring to a taxon, the word ...

Jonagold
' File:Malus Lobo 4397.jpg, 'Lobo' File:McIntosh.jpg, ' McIntosh' File:Apple 03.jpg, 'Pacific rose' File:Red Delicious.jpg, '
Red Delicious The 'Red Delicious' is a clone of apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus ...

Red Delicious
' File:Shampion 13.01.2013 13-17-30.jpg, ' Sampion' (Shampion) File:Mele stark.jpg, 'Stark Delicious' File:The SugarBee Apple now grown in Washington State.jpg, ' SugarBee' File:Summerred.jpg, 'Summerred' File:Tellissaare.JPG, 'Tellissaare' File:Yellow Transparent.jpg, 'Yellow Transparent'


Cultivation


Breeding

Many apples grow readily from seeds. However, more than with most perennial fruits, apples must be propagated asexually to obtain the sweetness and other desirable characteristics of the parent. This is because seedling apples are an example of "Zygosity, extreme heterozygotes", in that rather than inheriting genes from their parents to create a new apple with parental characteristics, they are instead significantly different from their parents, perhaps to compete with the many pests. Polyploid, Triploid cultivars have an additional reproductive barrier in that 3 sets of chromosomes cannot be divided evenly during meiosis, yielding unequal segregation of the chromosomes (aneuploids). Even in the case when a triploid plant can produce a seed (apples are an example), it occurs infrequently, and seedlings rarely survive. Because apples do not True-breeding organism, breed true when planted as seeds, although cutting (plant), cuttings can take root and breed true, and may live for a century,
grafting Grafting or graftage is a horticultural Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and h ...
is usually used. The
rootstock A rootstock is part of a plant, often an underground part, from which new above-ground growth can be produced. It could also be described as a stem with a well developed root system, to which a bud from another plant is grafted. It can refer to a r ...
used for the bottom of the graft can be selected to produce trees of a large variety of sizes, as well as changing the winter hardiness, insect and disease resistance, and soil preference of the resulting tree. Dwarf rootstocks can be used to produce very small trees (less than high at maturity), which bear fruit many years earlier in their life cycle than full size trees, and are easier to harvest. Dwarf rootstocks for apple trees can be traced as far back as 300 BCE, to the area of Persia and Asia Minor. Alexander the Great sent samples of dwarf apple trees to Aristotle's Lyceum. Dwarf rootstocks became common by the 15th century and later went through several cycles of popularity and decline throughout the world. The majority of the rootstocks used today to control size in apples were developed in England in the early 1900s. The East Malling Research Station conducted extensive research into rootstocks, and today their rootstocks are given an "M" prefix to designate their origin. Rootstocks marked with an "MM" prefix are Malling-series cultivars later crossed with trees of 'Northern Spy' in London Borough of Merton, Merton, England. Most new apple cultivars originate as seedlings, which either arise by chance or are bred by deliberately crossing cultivars with promising characteristics. The words "seedling", "pippin", and "kernel" in the name of an apple cultivar suggest that it originated as a seedling. Apples can also form bud sports (mutations on a single branch). Some bud sports turn out to be improved strains of the parent cultivar. Some differ sufficiently from the parent tree to be considered new cultivars. Since the 1930s, the Excelsior Experiment Station at the University of Minnesota has introduced a steady progression of important apples that are widely grown, both commercially and by local orchardists, throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its most important contributions have included 'Haralson (apple), Haralson' (which is the most widely cultivated apple in Minnesota), 'Wealthy (apple), Wealthy', 'Honeygold', and '
Honeycrisp Honeycrisp (''Malus pumila'') is an List of apple cultivars, apple cultivar (cultivated variety) developed at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station's Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnes ...

Honeycrisp
'. Apples have been acclimatized in Ecuador at very high altitudes, where they can often, with the needed factors, provide crops twice per year because of constant temperate conditions year-round.


Pollination

Apples are self-incompatible; they must Pollination, cross-pollinate to develop fruit. During the flowering each season, apple growers often utilize pollinators to carry pollen. Honey bees are most commonly used. Osmia lignaria, Orchard mason bees are also used as supplemental pollinators in commercial orchards. Bumblebee queen bee, queens are sometimes present in orchards, but not usually in sufficient number to be significant pollinators.Adamson, Nancy Lee
An Assessment of Non-Apis Bees as Fruit and Vegetable Crop Pollinators in Southwest Virginia
. Diss. 2011. Web. 15 October 2015.
There are four to seven pollination groups in apples, depending on climate: * Group A – Early flowering, 1 to 3 May in England ('Gravenstein', 'Red Astrachan') * Group B – 4 to 7 May ('Idared', ' McIntosh') * Group C – Mid-season flowering, 8 to 11 May ('
Granny Smith The Granny Smith, also known as a green apple or sour apple, is a tip-bearing apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the mos ...

Granny Smith
', '
Cox's Orange Pippin Cox's Orange Pippin, in Britain often referred to simply as Cox, is an apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely ...
') * Group D – Mid/late season flowering, 12 to 15 May ('
Golden Delicious 'Golden Delicious' is a yellow apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. ...

Golden Delicious
', 'Calville blanc d'hiver') * Group E – Late flowering, 16 to 18 May ('Braeburn', 'Reinette d'Orléans') * Group F – 19 to 23 May ('Suntan') * Group H – 24 to 28 May ('Court-Pendu Gris' – also called Court-Pendu plat) One cultivar can be pollinated by a compatible cultivar from the same group or close (A with A, or A with B, but not A with C or D). Cultivars are sometimes classified by the day of peak bloom in the average 30-day blossom period, with pollenizers selected from cultivars within a 6-day overlap period.


Maturation and harvest

Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock. Some cultivars, if left unpruned, grow very large—letting them bear more fruit, but making harvesting more difficult. Depending on tree density (number of trees planted per unit surface area), mature trees typically bear of apples each year, though productivity can be close to zero in poor years. Apples are harvested using three-point ladders that are designed to fit amongst the branches. Trees grafted on dwarfing rootstocks bear about of fruit per year. Farms with apple orchards open them to the public so consumers can pick their own apples. Crops ripen at different times of the year according to the cultivar. Cultivar that yield their crop in the summer include 'Gala', 'Golden Supreme', 'McIntosh', 'Transparent', 'Primate', 'Sweet Bough', and 'Duchess'; fall producers include 'Fuji', 'Jonagold', 'Golden Delicious', 'Red Delicious', 'Chenango', 'Gravenstein', 'Wealthy', 'McIntosh', 'Snow', and 'Blenheim'; winter producers include 'Winesap', 'Granny Smith', 'King', 'Wagener', 'Swazie (apple), Swayzie', 'Greening', and 'Tolman Sweet'.


Storage

Commercially, apples can be stored for some months in controlled atmosphere chambers to delay ethylene-induced ripening. Apples are commonly stored in chambers with higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and high air filtration. This prevents ethylene concentrations from rising to higher amounts and preventing ripening from occurring too quickly. For home storage, most cultivars of apple can be held for approximately two weeks when kept at the coolest part of the refrigerator (i.e. below 5 °C). Some can be stored up to a year without significant degradation. Some varieties of apples (e.g. '
Granny Smith The Granny Smith, also known as a green apple or sour apple, is a tip-bearing apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the mos ...

Granny Smith
' and '
FujiFuji may refer to: Places China * Fuji, Xiangcheng City (付集镇), town in Xiangcheng City Xiangcheng () is a county-level city in Zhoukou, Henan, People's Republic of China. It borders Shenqiu to the east, Shangcai to the west, Huaiyang County, ...
') have more than three times the storage life of others. Non-organic apples may be sprayed with 1-methylcyclopropene blocking the apples' ethylene receptors, temporarily preventing them from ripening.


Pests and diseases

Apple trees are susceptible to a number of
fungal A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically denotes a quantity great ...

fungal
and bacterium, bacterial diseases and insect pests. Many commercial orchards pursue a program of chemical sprays to maintain high fruit quality, tree health, and high yields. These prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, though some older pesticides are allowed. organic farming, Organic methods include, for instance, introducing its natural predator to reduce the population of a particular pest. A wide range of pests and diseases can affect the plant. Three of the more common diseases or pests are mildew, aphids, and apple scab. * Mildew is characterized by light grey powdery patches appearing on the leaves, shoots and flowers, normally in spring. The flowers turn a creamy yellow color and do not develop correctly. This can be treated similarly to Botryotinia, Botrytis—eliminating the conditions that caused the disease and burning the infected plants are among recommended actions. * Aphids are a small insect. Five species of aphids commonly attack apples: apple grain aphid, rosy apple aphid, apple aphid, spirea aphid, and the woolly apple aphid. The aphid species can be identified by color, time of year, and by differences in the cornicles (small paired projections from their rear). Aphids feed on foliage using needle-like mouth parts to suck out plant juices. When present in high numbers, certain species reduce tree growth and vigor. * Apple scab: Apple scab causes leaves to develop olive-brown spots with a velvety texture that later turn brown and become cork-like in texture. The disease also affects the fruit, which also develops similar brown spots with velvety or cork-like textures. Apple scab is spread through fungus growing in old apple leaves on the ground and spreads during warm spring weather to infect the new year's growth. Among the most serious disease problems are a bacterial disease called fireblight, and two fungal diseases: ''Gymnosporangium'' rust and Black Spot (disease), black spot. Other pests that affect apple trees include Codling moths and apple maggots. Young apple trees are also prone to mammal pests like mice and deer, which feed on the soft bark of the trees, especially in winter. The larvae of the Synanthedon myopaeformis, apple clearwing moth (red-belted clearwing) burrow through the bark and into the phloem of apple trees, potentially causing significant damage.


Production

World production of apples in 2018 was 86 million tonnes, with China producing 46% of the total (table). Secondary producers were the United States and Poland.


Nutrition

A raw apple is 86% water and 14% carbohydrates, with negligible content of fat and protein (table). A reference serving of a raw apple with skin weighing 100 grams provides 52 calories and a moderate content of dietary fiber. Otherwise, there is low content of micronutrients, with the Daily Values of all falling below 10%, indicating a nutritionally poor food source.


Uses

All parts of the fruit, including the skin, except for the seeds, are suitable for human consumption. The core, from stem to bottom, containing the seeds, is usually not eaten and is discarded. Apples can be consumed various ways: Apple juice, juice, raw in salads, baked in Apple pie, pies, cooked into Apple sauce, sauces and spreads like apple butter, and other Cooking apple, baked dishes. Apples are sometimes used as an ingredient in savory foods, such as sausage and stuffing. Several techniques are used to preserve apples and apple products. Apples can be canned, dried or frozen. Canned or frozen apples are eventually baked into pies or other cooked dishes. Apple juice or cider is also bottled. Apple juice is often concentrated and frozen.


Popular uses

Apples are often eaten raw. Cultivars bred for raw consumption are termed dessert or table apples. * In the UK, a toffee apple is a traditional confection made by coating an apple in hot toffee and allowing it to cool. Similar treats in the U.S. are candy apples (coated in a hard shell of crystallized sugar syrup) and caramel apples (coated with cooled caramel). * Apples are eaten with honey at the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a sweet new year. Apples are an important ingredient in many desserts, such as apple pie, apple crumble, apple crisp and apple cake. When cooked, some apple cultivars easily form a puree known as apple sauce. Apples are also made into apple butter and apple jelly. They are often baked or stewed and are also (cooked) in some meat dishes. Dried apples can be eaten or reconstituted (soaked in water, alcohol or some other liquid). Apples are milled or pressed to produce apple juice, which may be drunk unfiltered (called apple cider in North America), or filtered. Filtered juice is often concentrated and frozen, then reconstituted later and consumed. Apple juice can be fermentation (food), fermented to make
cider Cider ( ) is an alcoholic beverage made from the Fermentation (food), fermented juice of apples. Cider is widely available in the United Kingdom (particularly in the West Country) and the Republic of Ireland. The UK has the world's highest per c ...

cider
(called hard cider in North America), ciderkin, and vinegar. Through distillation, various alcoholic beverages can be produced, such as applejack (beverage), applejack, Calvados (spirit), Calvados, and apfelwein.


Organic production

organic farming, Organic apples are commonly produced in the United States. Due to infestations by key insects and diseases, organic production is difficult in Europe. The use of pesticides containing chemicals, such as sulfur, copper, microorganisms, viruses, clay powders, or plant extracts (pyrethrum, neem) has been approved by the EU Organic Standing Committee to improve organic yield and quality. A light coating of kaolin, which forms a physical barrier to some pests, also may help prevent apple sun scalding.


Phytochemicals

Apple skins and seeds contain various phytochemicals, particularly polyphenols which are under preliminary research for their potential health effects.


Non-browning apples

The enzyme, polyphenol oxidase, causes Food browning, browning in sliced or bruised apples, by catalysis, catalyzing the redox, oxidation of phenolic compounds to o-quinones, a browning factor. Browning reduces apple taste, color, and food value. Arctic Apples, a non-browning group of apples introduced to the United States market in 2019, have been Genetically modified food, genetically modified to silence the gene expression, expression of polyphenol oxidase, thereby delaying a browning effect and improving apple eating quality. The US Food and Drug Administration in 2015, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 2017, determined that Arctic apples are as safe and nutritious as conventional apples.


Other products

Apple seed oil is obtained by Expeller pressing, pressing apple seeds for manufacturing cosmetics.


Research

Preliminary research is investigating whether apple consumption may affect the risk of some types of cancer.


Allergy

One form of apple allergy, often found in northern Europe, is called birch-apple syndrome and is found in people who are also allergic to birch pollen. Allergic reactions are triggered by a protein in apples that is similar to birch pollen, and people affected by this protein can also develop allergies to other fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Reactions, which entail oral allergy syndrome (OAS), generally involve itching and inflammation of the mouth and throat, but in rare cases can also include life-threatening anaphylaxis. This reaction only occurs when raw fruit is consumed—the allergen is neutralized in the cooking process. The variety of apple, maturity and storage conditions can change the amount of allergen present in individual fruits. Long storage times can increase the amount of proteins that cause birch-apple syndrome. In other areas, such as the Mediterranean, some individuals have adverse reactions to apples because of their similarity to peaches. This form of apple allergy also includes OAS, but often has more severe symptoms, such as vomiting, abdominal pain and urticaria, and can be life-threatening. Individuals with this form of allergy can also develop reactions to other fruits and nuts. Cooking does not break down the protein causing this particular reaction, so affected individuals cannot eat raw or cooked apples. Freshly harvested, over-ripe fruits tend to have the highest levels of the protein that causes this reaction. Breeding efforts have yet to produce a hypoallergenic fruit suitable for either of the two forms of apple allergy.


Toxicity of seeds

Apple seeds contain small amounts of amygdalin, a sugar and cyanide compound known as a Cyanogenic glycoside#Cyanogenic glycosides, cyanogenic glycoside. Ingesting small amounts of apple seeds causes no ill effects, but consumption of extremely large doses can cause adverse reactions. It may take several hours before the poison takes effect, as cyanogenic glycosides must be hydrolyzed before the cyanide ion is released. The United States National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances Data Bank records no cases of amygdalin poisoning from consuming apple seeds.


See also

* Apple chip * Applecrab, apple–crabapple hybrids for eating * Cooking apple * Johnny Appleseed * List of apple cultivars * List of apple dishes * Rootstock * Welsh apples


References


Further reading

Books * * *


External links

*
''Malus pumila'' Mill. (accepted name)
{{Authority control Apples, * Malus, * Fruits originating in Asia Plants described in 1768