Origin: Asia (cultivated variety)
Common apple, especially when pruned, is a small tree with a low, broadly spreading, dome-shaped crown.Read more about Tree, Bark, Twigs
Leaves are oval, with variably shaped bases and tips, and small, sharp teeth along the edges.Read more about Leaves
Flowers have 5 white petals often flushed with pink, yellow anthers, and are borne in clusters in spring.Read more about Flowers
Fruits are large fleshy apples in a wide variety of colours with a persistent calyx (the sepals) at the tip.Read more about Fruit
Common apple is a small to medium sized tree, up to 15 m (50'), with a low, spreading, dome-shaped crown, especially when pruned.
Twigs are reddish-brown (young twigs have white woolly hairs) with small lateral buds pressed against the twig.
Leaves on new long shoots are arranged alternately on the branch as are short shoots that bear clusters of leaves early in the season. .
Origins of common apple
Common apple (Malus domestica) was derived more than 3000 years ago from wild apples growing in Central Asia, especially what is now Kazakhstan. At one time there were more than 10,000 different varieties each with unique properties including size, taste, texture, color, and hardiness. A display and video on the origins of the apple can be seen in the Royal Ontario Museum's Life in Crisis: the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity.
The spread of apple trees likely started with traders on the silk road. However, in the United States it is usually attributed to the legendary Johnny Appleseed, Jonathan Chapman (1774-1845), who travelled on foot from farm to farm providing apple seeds to establish orchards.
Common apple has occasionally escaped cultivation and formed natural hybrids with native species of crabapple.
In addition to fruit production for fresh and dried fruit, juice, vinegar and cider, the wood of many species of apple (Malus spp) is used for carving, fuel, and for providing flavouring smoke to some foods.
Common apple's place in Toronto's urban forest
Common apple trees are encountered in parks where there were once farms, orchards, or private homesteads. Apple trees planted in a straight line may indicate an old orchard or a lot line. Trees also grow from discarded apple cores. If you have an apple tree on your property you may wish to visit the website of Not Far From the Tree to learn how you might get help collecting and using your fruit.
Landscape value and potential for home planting
Common apple provides not only a handsome display of spring flowers but also an annual crop of edible fruit. Only trees propagated by grafting can reliably produce fruit with specific characteristics.
Common apple trees grow best in sunny sites with moist soil.
Pests and diseases: Apples are susceptible to fire blight, a disease caused by bacteria that is native to North America and affects members of the rose family (Rosaceae). Fire blight is particularly harmful to pear and apple trees, killing branches and blossoms. Cankers appearing on the trunk indicate a serious infection that may kill the tree. For more infromation on fire blight see Agriculture Canada factsheet .
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