Apple characteristics

Apple fruit

What are apples?

Apples are the fruits of apple trees (Malus spp), from the Rosaceae family, where we find another wild or cultivated shrubs such as roses, or other trees such as almonds or cherries.

The European cultivated apple tree is the species Malus domestica . Apple tree is an evergreen tree up to 15 m.

Gray pubescent young stems and branches. Elliptic- ovate leaves with hairy undersides, till 15 cm. long.

White or pink flowers up to 5 cm. The fruit (apple) is a fleshy pome more than 5 cm long, of very variable color depending on the variety.

Where is apple tree coming from?

Originated in Middle East, it was formed by hybridization of wild trees. It can be found cultivated in many parts of the world and sometimes it is still feral.

Photo of apples

Origin of apples. Wild species of apple

It is not known exactly which were the first apple tree species from which all others derive. It is thought that, most likely, they come from the species Malus sieversii Ledeb.

The origin of this ancient apple tree must be placed 15,000 or 20,000 years ago in central Asia, in Tian -shan specifically, a mountainous area at the Northwest of China and Kazakhstan. There are still today many samples of this species in these areas.

Apples with other fruits and vegetables

Apples are a normal part of the fruit and vegetables stalls

Species of apples

Among the best known wildlife species in the world, we have the following:

  • The European wild apple (Malus sylvestris = Malus pumila) which was thought to be the apple trees from which the cultivated European apples came from, until genetic analysis revealed the most resemblance to the Malus sieversii.
  • The North American crab apple (Malus coronaria)
  • Chinese crab apples (Malus prunifolia, Malus baccata and Malus spectabilis)
  • Japanese crab apple (Malus floribunda)

Wild species produce small fruits with a sour flavor. By means of crosses between them and selecting the most valid species, we have been producing apples trees with much sweeter and larger apples than those from the original varieties.

Apple producing countries

The apple tree is one of the most used food plants worldwide. It is believed that this was the tree that Man first domesticated, attracted by the ability of this plant to withstand cold, and for the wealthiness of its fruits and its ability to retain the food properties for a long time after fruits have been picked from the tree.

This has resulted in a large world production whose first objective focuses on delivering fruit for fresh consumption. However the apple industry moves other food markets ( applesauce, cider, apple juice, etc.).

Apples are grown almost everywhere in the world. The world’s largest producer is China that produces almost 50% of all production. Russia is still in front of the United States. In Europe, Germany is the first producer, followed by Italy, France and Poland. Morocco is the largest producer in Africa. Other major producers are Brazil, Spain, Iran, Canada, Netherlands, Mexico and New Zealand.

red dot More information on apples.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

18 June, 2021

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