History of the Apple  

== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 10:09 am
From: ForestRuss@aol.com


The Chinese chestnut trees in central WV just started flowering in the past
couple of days.

Also, I have no idea of how to find a link to the story but several years
ago there was an incredibly interesting segment on NPR about the apple tree
forests of one of the former Russian republics. I think it may have been
Aberzijan or one of the other provinces close to the Middle East but the story
centered on the apple tree forests of that country where it is believed that all
the worlds' varieties of cultivated apples originated. At the time the area
had the largest remaining natural apple forest in the world and they spoke of
apple trees 80+ feet tall and suitable for timber. Since hearing that
report I have fanticized a great number of times about visiting the place and I
hope there is someone out there in ENTS land that remebers the same story or
even had a link to more information.


== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 8:11 pm
From: James Parton


A forest of large apple trees? That is an unusual thought. I have
seen many an old orchard around here that has been overgrown by woods,
other tree types. The apple trees do not seem to be able to stand up
to competition and die. But I do see living ones at the forests edge.
Like at the edge of a field. But the original apple may be more hardy.
I would like to find that article you speak of. The Apple is an
important tree. One I don't hear much of on ENTS.

James P.

TOPIC: History of the Apple

== 1 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 3:06 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


The first two links were found using www.metacrawler.com with the search words apple history NPR. The other links below were found using the search words apple tree history. The first is a realmedia movie that will play if you have real plaey installed. The second is an interview/transcript. I don't know if this is what you were looking for in your note.

Ed Frank


Michael Pollan on the Apple in History (2001)
Listen Now: [6 min 25 sec]

Real MediaExplain these links
Morning Edition, June 5, 2001 · In the second report on Michael Pollan, the author of The Botany of Desire, NPR's Ketzel Levine tells the story of how a weed from Kazakstan evolved into the most American of fruits -- the apple. The tale involves the pilgrims, thirsty pioneers, and a stubborn Quaker farmer in Iowa


Author Michael Pollan Talks
About the History of the Apple (201)

Morning Edition with Ketzel Levine (NPR)



8,000 B.C.-Nomadic hunter/gatherer societies invent agriculture and begin to "settle" in places throughout the "fertile crescent" from the Nile through the Tigris and Euphrates, the Indus, and Yellow River Valleys. As both trade and military expeditions begin among these earliest civilizations, dessert apples quickly spread from the forests of their origin in the Tien Shan mountains of eastern Kazakstan throughout the "civilized" world. Each settlement seeks to embellish their "paradise" or pleasure grounds with the most tempting apples of the forests. Previously isolated gene pools from some of the 25 distinctly different species of apples found throughout the world are now brought in contact with each other and gene transfer among apple species occurs. Agriculturalists are charmed. Naturalists are alarmed.



The wild ancestor of Malus domestica is Malus sieversii. It has no common name in English, but is known in Kazakhstan, where it is native, as alma; in fact, the region where it is thought to originate is called Almaty, or "reach of the apples". This tree is still found wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China.[4] Apple cut horizontally, showing seedsFor many years, there was a debate about whether M. domestica evolved from chance hybridization among various wild species. Recent DNA analysis by Barrie Juniper, Emeritus Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences at Oxford University and others, has indicated, however, that the hybridization theory is probably false. Instead, it appears that a single species still growing in the Ili Valley, on the northern slopes of the Tien Shan mountains at the border of northwest China[3] and Kazakhstan, is the progenitor of the apples we eat today. Leaves taken from trees in this area were analyzed for DNA composition, which showed them all to belong to the species M. sieversii, with some genetic sequences common to M. domestica.[5] Other species that were previously thought to have made contributions to the genome of the domestic apples are Malus baccata and Malus sylvestris, but there is no hard evidence for this in older apple cultivars. These and other Malus species have been used in some recent breeding programmes to develop apples suitable for growing in climates unsuitable for M. domestica, mainly for increased cold tolerance.[6]

(4) Pierre-éric Lauri; Karen Maguylo, Catherine Trottier (December 21, 2005). Architecture and size relations: an essay on the apple (Malus x domestica, Rosaceae) tree (htm) (English). Retrieved on 22 January 2008. http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/93/3/357

(5) William J. Bramlage. On the Origin of the Edible Apple (pdf) 1,2. Department of Plant & Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts. Retrieved on 24 January 2008. http://www.umass.edu/fruitadvisor/fruitnotes/ontheorigin.pdf

(6) Sauer, J.D. 1993. Historical geography of crop plants - a select roster. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida

== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 3:23 pm

Try this one:

== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 8:24 pm
From: neil


This month Orion Magazine has an article on an attempt to conserve the
apple forests and wild apples of Kazakstan - sounds like Nirvana to me:


TOPIC: History of the Apple

== 1 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 9:12 pm
From: James Parton


Cool! Some well deserved data on the Apple!


== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 9:39 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


Fantastic article. Thanks for the link. Everyone in ENTS should read this.


== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 11:09 pm

Or heaven on earth was in Kazakstan?

== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Tues, Jun 17 2008 1:47 am
From: Ren

Wild apples and Pears grow in forests all over the Appalachians. From
their sizes, age and locations I'd hazard a guess that they are the
seeded offspring of trees the early settlers brought with them from
Europe. I have collected several that have fruit that is smaller ,
tasty and very hardy. Unlike domestic hybrid varieties. Our modern
Yellow Delicious comes from a Apple that was selected from wild trees
in West Virginia in the 20's. In Central TN in the McMinville area
(center of the US Nursery industry) there are hundreds of domestic
hybrid species that have gone wild. Some are invasive (Firebush,
Butterfly bush, Bradford Pear and others), but I've noticed some new
sub-species "sports" in older Nurseries that have gone wild that are
improvements over their parent trees. I collect them in the search for
unique variations. Ren

== 2 of 5 ==
Date: Tues, Jun 17 2008 5:47 am
From: ForestRuss@aol.com


All of the the yellow delicious apples cultivated in the world appear to be
decendents of the fruit from one limb of a tree in Clay County, WV which is
located to the immediate south of where I live. It is one of that areas' most
enduring claims to fame. WV lore has it that buds from the one limb were
grafted onto other trees and an industry was born.

We have a tremendous variety of wild apples growing in our woods and the
tallest apple trees I have ever encountered have been nearly 50' tall.

The 2008 magazine article referenced is incredible and it makes me want to
cash in a winning lottery ticket for a trip to the far side of the world!


== 3 of 5 ==
Date: Tues, Jun 17 2008 5:58 am
From: neil

Doesn't it though, Russ? I read an article about this forest, or very
one similar some 7-8 yrs ago. British scientists were looking for the
genetic root of our domestic apples and travelled to Kazakhstan. that
article described a forest full of apples, plums,....all kinds of fruit
trees. I think I might have drooled while reading that article. I lost
track of that article for about 4-5 yrs, which sink my spirits when I
recalled I had lost that article. It is thrilling to see this topic pop
up again in more mainstream literature. I dream of traveling to these
forests during peak fruit season. I think I'd just sit in that forest,
eat and dream.

Heaven on Earth, indeed.


== 4 of 5 ==
Date: Tues, Jun 17 2008 7:23 am
From: James Parton


I too have run across wild apples many times. I have never found them
in a dense forest though. They are usually found where competition is
lower, like a fields edge. Growing up, we called these apples "
Hillbilly Apples " Old Timey Apples " or just plain " Wild Apples ".
Like you, I found many of them quite tasty. I have found Crab Apple
growing wild also, then there is their naturally occuring native
cousin the Hawthorn. One of my favorite trees. I have never been nuts
about the sour taste of Crab Apples and the fruit of the Hawthorn has
little taste.

Also, the offspring of cultivated varieties revert to a much more wild
state quickly if their parent trees cross pollinate and the the young
trees cross pollinate again. After a generation or two you have a very
wild-looking apple.

Here in Henderson County NC, apple farming is a big business, though
it is only a fraction of what it once was. Seeing apple orchards here
is a common sight. I hope for continued success for the farmers for if
they fail it often means development, in the form of trailer parks,
subdivisions and junkyards. That quickly ruins a landscape. It is
already happening in some areas.

James P.

== 5 of 5 ==
Date: Tues, Jun 17 2008 11:56 am

Ed's passthrough post mentioned the spread of apples, and another I saw about the spread of peaches, by native Americans from the mid-1500's on...