An example of a Common Apple tree (10).
The Common Apple tree is a
small deciduous tree ranging from about 4 to 10 meters in height.The bark
of the Common Apple tree is often gray, broken and scaly and the leaves are
typically broad, flat, simple and finely toothed. In the spring white to pink flowers can found blooming on the
tree, eventually fruit will form known as an apple. The fruit of the Common Apple tree is at
least one inch in diameter and can be shades of red, green or yellow (6).
Location On Campus
On the Nazareth College
campus, an example of the Common Apple tree can be found between the horse
pastures and George Hall.
Native Habitat and Current
The Common Apple tree
originated in western Asia and spread throughout Europe in ancient
times. It was brought to North America
by 1800 and because of its wide variety of uses quickly spread throughout
the north and northeast (6). It
was brought to North America by travelers from Europe and spread throughout
the North and Northeast by the famed Johnny Appleseed. Currently, Malus
sylvestris can be found growing throughout North America from
Washington to New York as long as there are proper growing conditions (8).
Optimal Growing Conditions
Malus sylvestris (1).
Common Apple trees are
adapted to a variety of growing conditions. They can be found growing in gardens from Canada all the way
down to central Florida. No matter
the type of apple tree, a great deal of moisture and full sunlight are
required to ensure the health of the tree.
Adequate levels of potassium, calcium and boron also help to promote
good growth and quality fruit. It
is often beneficial to provide the tree with a yearly two-inch layer of
Apples are economically
important primarily as a source of food.
People buy apples to eat raw, and to use in pies, pastries, cookies
and other foods. In New York State,
apples are of especially great economic importance. New York is the #2 producer of apples in
the country, producing more commercial varieties of apples than any other
state(5). Fruit and nut crops comprise about 5.1%
of the total farm income in the United States, (approximately $10,020,000,000!). Of these,
apples account for $1,150,387,000,
making it the third most important fruit crop as a source of income for
Ethnobotanical and Cultural
Blossoms on Malus sylvestris (2).
Apples have become a mainstay
in American culture and are incorporated into many aspects of American
life, such as the popular quote, "as American as apple pie”
demonstrates. Apples also provide
a variety of activities for many Americans. Thousands of Americans pick their own apples each fall, drink
apple cider, and partake in apple festival activities (5). Johnny Appleseed is also an icon of
American culture. Elementary school
children across the United States learn about Johnny Appleseed’s journey to
plant apple trees throughout the midwestern United States (3). Medicinally, parts of the Common Apple
tree may be used in the production of astringents, laxatives and diuretics. Apple tree bark and apple peels may be
used in teas and are said to relieve such illnesses and pains as fever, boils,
insect bites, toothaches, and rheumatism.
Apples are very nutritious and it is a common idea that "an
apple a day, keeps the doctor away" (4).
The world's largest apple peel was made by sixteen
year old Kathy Wafler Madison on October 16, 1976, in Rochester, NY.
The peel measured 172 feet, 4 inches long. She grew up to be a sales
manager for an apple tree nursery (8).
America's oldest apple tree was planted in 1647 by
Peter Stuyvesant in his orchard in Manhattan and was still fruiting when a
derailed train struck it in 1866 (8).
The first apple nursery was opened in Flushing, New
York in 1730 (8).
One of George Washington's hobbies was pruning his
apple trees (8).
Fifty leaves must provide energy in order to
produce one apple
Other interesting sites
Apple pie and custard (1).
United States Apple Association website. Includes interesting facts,
press releases about apples, frequently asked questions and famous and
funny quotations about apples.
A web page about New York state apple country. Includes recipes,
apple festival calendar, and directory of places to pick your own apples.
A web page created by the University of Illinois. Contains
information about the history of apples, apple education, interesting and
little known facts, recipes and a plethora of other information.
A botanical website include information about apple history and medical
An interesting and fun site for kids, with apple juice information for
adults as well.
References: Articles, Books, Reference
Materials, and the Web
Britton, Ian. http://www.freefoto.com/results.jsp?set=same.
Cook, Bill. http://forestry.msu.edu/uptreeid/PICShardwoods/APPL-flower.jpg.
Internet Enterprises. http://www.egregore.com/herbs/apple.html.
York Apple Association. http://www.nyapplecountry.com/consumer.htm.
Public Library Information Network. http://www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/apple_common/apple_common.html.
of Illinois Extension. http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/apples/facts.html.
10. West, Jan. http://krypton.mnsu.edu/~jan/web/house/pict/apple-tree.jpg.