Know your Apples

  • The apple is the fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae) and is a perennial. 
  • It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans.

Know your Apples - Botany

  • The apple forms a tree that is small and deciduous, reaching 3 to 12 metres (9.8 to 39 ft) tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown.
  • The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5 to 12 cm long and 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) broad on a 2 to 5 centimetres (0.79 to 2.0 in) petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. 
  • Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves. 
  • The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petalled, and 2.5 to 3.5 centimetres (0.98 to 1.4 in) in diameter. 
  • The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5 to 9 centimetres (2.0 to 3.5 in) diameter. 
  • The centre of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds.

Know your Apples - Origins

  • The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor is still found today. 
  • There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. 
  • Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.

Know your Apples - Distribution

  • At least 55 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2005, with a value of about $10 billion. 
  • China produced about 35% of this total.
  • The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 7.5% of world production. 
  • Iran is third, followed by Turkey, Russia, Italy and India.

Know your Apples - Pollination

  • Apples are self-incompatible; they must cross-pollinate to develop fruit. 
  • During the flowering each season, apple growers usually provide pollinators to carry the pollen. 
  • Honeybees are most commonly used, although these have become more uncommon in recent years. 
  • Orchard mason bees are also used as supplemental pollinators in commercial orchards. 
  • Bumble bee queens are sometimes present in orchards, but not usually in enough quantity to be significant pollinators.