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Northern Arizona Universtiy Arboretum

Brad Blake
Curator
Northern Arizona University.
PO Box 4087
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
Phone (928) 523-9100
Fax (928) 523-1075
Email Brad Blake

Philip Patterson
Director
Northern Arizona University
PO Box 4087
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
928-523-9103
Email Phillip Patterson


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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:


Sydney Postharvest Laboratory
Practical Plants of New England
 


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