Culinary and dessert apples come in a wide variety of texture, colors and tastes. They belong in the family Rosaceae and are known as Malus domestica apples. They are complex selections and hybrids taken from M. Pumila with M. Sylvestris and M. Mitis. The shape of the fruit varies from spheres like ‘Granny Smith’ and ‘Gladstone’ to flattened buns of ‘Bramley’ and ‘Mere de Menage’, to conical varieties of ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Spartan’, and ‘Worcester Pearmain.’
The colors of the apples will range from green, yellow, scarlet orange, dark red to an almost purple shade. The texture will vary from crisp to soft, and they maybe juicy or dry, acid or insipid, bitter, bland, or aromatic.
All apples have a dent in the stalk end, the remains of the flower at the other, and a central tough core with several brown seeds. These are edible in small amounts, though there is a recorded death from eating a quantity , since they contain small amounts of cyanide.
The trees will often become picturesque landscape features, particularly when seen in an orchard. They frequently become twisted or distorted when left to themselves. They have soft downy or smooth leaves, never as glossy as pear leaves. The flowers are often pink or red tinged as well as snow white.
Apple History Overview
Apples are native to temperate Europe and Asia. They have been harvested from the wild since prehistory and were well known to the ancient Phoenicians. The Romans encouraged their cultivation. There was a decline in the interest of apples in the Dark Ages but was regained during the Norman invasion.
We now have over 5,000 named apple varieties, representing about 2,000 actual distinguishable clones. Several hundred of these are obtainable from nursery growers, but only six of them are grown commercially. Apples are often used as espaliers when the grower doesn't have a lot of space to put a full sized apple tree in their yard and garden space. Supports for espaliers can also be built very easily.
Apples were grown in Boston Harbor with the Massachusetts Bay Company requesting seeds in 1629. In 1635, Mr. Wolcott of Connecticut was making apple cider from his new apple orchard.
Varieties of Apples
McIntosh, Red Delicious, Winesap, Stayman Winesap, Fuji, Jonathan, Rome, Cortland, Liberty, Freedom, Spartan, Court Pendu Plat, Nonpareil, Golden Pippin, Golden Reinette, Ribston Pippin, Ashmead Kernel, Orleans Reinette, Bramley’s Seedling, Egremont Russet, Golden Delicious, and Discovery.
Apple trees can grow up to 33 ft. and have a medium to long lifespan. They are deciduous, hardy and sometimes self-fertile. Some of the fruit can grow up to 6”, is spherical, and comes in green to yellow or red.
Apples contain a much needed vitamin, vitamin C. You may have heard the old saying” An apple a day keeps the doctor away, “ that is because they are good for you and are very tasty. Apples can be made into some fantastic gourmet dishes, but are just as tasty right from the tree.
Topiaries and Espaliers: Plus Other Designs for Shaping Plants (Taylor's Weekend Gardening Guides (Houghton Mifflin))
Fruit-gardening: containing complete practical directions for the selection, propagation and cultivation of all kinds of fruit [ 1901? ]