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Domestic Apple

domestic appleMalus pumila

The most widely adapted deciduous fruit, the domestic apple grows in almost every Western climate. This particular tree produces tasty, tart, yellow-green apples.

The Domestic Apple is a hybrid mixture of at least four different wild species including Malus sylvestris, M. pumila, M. dasyphylla, and M. sieversii. These species occur in the cool, temperate regions of Europe, the Near East, and central Asia. It is difficult to determine when domestication of apples began. Apple remains in archaeological sites that date back to the Neolithic period suggest that, from the earliest times, apples were being harvested from the wild and eaten. Presumably, apple trees started growing near habitations from discarded apple pips. However, the earliest evidence of apple domestication dates back to only the tenth century BC from a site in Israel, between Sinai and the Negev. This site is well outside the range of the wild apple species, yet apple cores occur in large numbers, suggestingthat apple trees were cultivated and probably irrigated in this dry region.

A fascinating account of apple domestication in the U.S. can be found in Michael Pollan’s 2001 book, The Botany of Desire, published by Random House.

For more information on Apple, visit the links below:

Practical Plants of New England
University of Illinois Extension

2009 Arizona Board of Regents, Northern Arizona University
South San Francisco Street, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011