external image apple-tree1.jpgThe Apple, part of the Rosaceae Family and derived from the old English word “aeppel,” is one of the most widely known tree fruits used by humans today. While there are various accounts of its origins, the apple is believed to have originated in Kazakhstan, Central Asia. There, it is known as “alma,” as the region of the apple’s origination is known as ata-alma, which means “father of all apples.”[1] The apple has been dated back to 8,000 B.C., when Nomadic hunter/gatherer societies invented agriculture and dessert apples quickly spread from the mountains of eastern Kazakhstan throughout the “civilized” world.[2]From the beginning, man’s idea of paradise has centered on an abundance of cultivated fruit, thus associating apples with love, beauty, luck, health, comfort, pleasure, wisdom, temptation, sensuality, sexuality, virility and fertility Apples' most recent appearance in history occurred in the 1800s in the U.S., when Johnny Appleseed, or John Chapman, walked barefoot across an area of 100,000 square miles, planting apple trees that provided food and a livelihood for generations of settlers. [10] From the perspective of the European settlers of the New World, Chapman’s apples brought sweetness mainly through the brewing of cider. Seedling apples, it turns out, are rarely good for eating, but they’re usually great for fermenting. Cider, of course, provides a literal sugary sweetness, but also much of the sugar gets converted to alcohol, providing the sweetness of a comforting, warming drink and the sociability that comes with intoxication, not to mention the comfort of the familiar, since they all would have been used to both apples and cider from the Old World. By planting seedlings, Chapman was providing a lot of raw material, i.e. genetic diversity, for natural selection to work on. Thus, he helped speed the evolution of the Old World apples and enable their adaptation to life in the New World.apples_1.jpg

  • Michael Pollan on Johnny Appleseed: "People didn’t go to their frontier without their apple seeds and this is why Johnny Appleseed was such an important figure. You know, when I started researching the apple, I thought he was just a comic book, you know, one of these legends like Paul Bunyan. I really did not know he was a historical figure, but he was. He’s just not as we’re told he was. Johnny Appleseed was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. That’s why he was so popular. That’s why he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio. He was the American Dionysus."(A complete interview with Michael Pollan on the History of Apples can be found here: Author Michael Pollan Talks About the History of the Apple)

Around the time of Prohibition, the apple’s use in cider dropped off as its use for food rose in importance. This lead to the proliferation of grafted clones, which eventually took over from Johnny Appleseed’s practice of planting seedlings exclusively. But by taming the apple in this way, our current crop plants have lost the variability that allowed them to adapt to life in the Americas to begin with. Furthermore, they’ve lost their ability to adapt to the challenge presented by pests and parasites. Like the potato in the past and the banana in the present, we risk losing one of our favoured plants. And even if we don’t, the apple has become one of the crops most reliant on pesticides.

Apple Varieties:
More than 7,500 different varieties of apples are cultivated around the world, with more than 2,500 produced in the United States. Some of the most popular ones include: the Braeburn, Cortland, Crab, Fuji, Gala, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, McIntosh, Pacific Rose, Paula Red. In the US, the most commonly grown apples are: Red Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Fuji.

Further information and apple descriptions can be found here: All About Apples

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

The family that apples are a part of, Rosaceae, or the Rose Family, includes about 3,100 species and 107 genera worldwide, and includes many other type of plants than just roses alone. They are represented on all continents except Antartica, but the majority of species are found in Europe, Asia, and North America. Most species in the Rosaceae have leaves with serrated margins and a pair of stipules where the leaf joins the stem. Also, the flowers are typically radially symmetrical, with 5 sepals united at the base, 5 petals arising from the top of a cup- or saucer-like structure, numerous stamens in several whorls, and 1 compound or several simple ovaries. Rosaceae plants grow as trees, shrubs and perennial herbs. They also occur as climbing plants, like vines, but are often self sufficient, needing no host to cling to and climb up. Thorns often are seen on these types of plants as they aid in defense and are also used as a clasping technique.

There are many different types of fruits in the rose family, ranging from single-seeded, soft, fleshy, fruits known as drupes to harder, fleshy pseudocarps such as a pome or hip. In the genera Malus (apples and crabapples), Chaenomeles, and Rosa, the true fruit is engulfed in a fleshy structure called the hypanthium, which is composed of the swollen bases of petals and sepals. In the mature pseudocarp (pome or hip), the true fruit is centrally located and contains five distinct carpels which may contain one or more seeds each. The fleshy tissue which surrounds the fruit is the hypanthium.

Most members of the Rosaceae have fruits that are fleshy and conspicuously red, purple or yellow in color. These fruits serve as important sources of nutrition for many species of wild animals. From the evolutionary perspective of the plant, the function of these edible fruits is not primarily to serve as food. Instead, these pomes, drupes, and aggregate fruits are designed to entice an animal into eating the fruit, so the enclosed seeds are then either discarded or ingested. In this way, the plant offers food to the animal, and the animal acts as an agent of seed dispersal for the plant. The hard endocarp of drupes and drupelets enables the enclosed seed to pass safely through the digestive tract of a bird and to be excreted intact.
(Sources: Rose Family and Rosaceae)

Global Distribution of Rosaceae - Source: Wikipedia

Other Members of the Family:
  • Roses
  • Plums
  • Quinces
  • Apricots
  • Almonds
  • Medlars
  • Loquats
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Boysenberries
  • Blackberries
  • Loganberries
  • Prunes
  • Raspberries
  • Pears
  • Strawberries

Anatomy & Classification
Anatomy of an Apple
Anatomy of an Apple

    • Kingdom: Plantae - Plants

    • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular Plants

    • Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed Plants

    • Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering Plants

    • Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons

    • Subclass: Rosidae

    • Order: Rosales

    • Family: Rosaceae


Growth Stages


Seed Stage: Apple seeds are planted into the ground.

  • Seedling: Usually seedling is used as a rootstock for grafting scion of desired cultivar on it after it is about 1 year old; also, most of new cultivars originate as seedlings, which either arise by chance or are bred by deliberately crossing cultivars with promising characteristics.
  • Sapling: 2-4 years old tree which consists of a rootstock and a graft of desirable cultivar.
  • Mature: 5-10 years old tree; mature tree can bear 40-200 kg of apples per year.

Flowering Stage: Apples must be cross-pollinated to develop fruit.
  • Early Flowering: the center of the flower cluster, King Bloom, has opened
  • Full Bloom: 80% or more of the flowers on the tree or in the orchard are open
  • Petal Fall: flower petals are falling from the tree

Ripening Stage
  • Fruit Set: 8-15 mm fruits; during this period farmers thin the fruits; also, natural dropping of inferior fruits occurs.
  • Green Fruit: 1-2.5 inches fruits (for Red Delicious cultivar); green or mostly green in color; by this time final fruit count has been determined (no more fruit thinning and fruit dropping).
  • Ripe: Harvestable fruit; final fruit size is a result of the number of fruit on the tree and the growing conditions that year.
(Source: Malus Domestica)

For an even closer look at the growth stages of an Apple, click here: Apple Growth Development Reference

Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts


As the popular phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” insists, there are numerous benefits of eating the fruit. Apples prove to help the prevention of cancer, help prevent heart disease, control sugar problems, contain high-fiber, lower cholesterol, provide anti-inflammatory protection, promote weight loss, helps with asthma, and helps bone protection. New research shows that apples also contain an important phytonutrient, quercetin, that helps prevent Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Other phytonutrients in apples include phenolic acids and other flavonoids, which provide anti-oxidant protection and anti-cancer benefits as well. These flavonoids may also be responsible for lowering the risk of lung cancer by 50 percent. The anti-oxidants in apples essentially help to block any negative side effects in the body. Not only do they help fight the substances that damage healthy cells, they also help to build healthy cells to replace the ones that die. Apples also contain Pectin, which lowers the bad cholesterol and therefore helps vascular health and prevents coronary disease. The fiber in the apple also blocks the absorption of bad cholesterol in the colon.
(Source: Health Benefits of Apples)

Apples also promote good health according to their color:
  • Green Apples = Good for strong bones and teeth, aids in vision, and has anti-cancer properties.
  • Yellow Apples = Good for heart and eyes, immune system, and reducing risk of some cancers.
  • Red Apples = Good for heart, memory function, lowering risk of some cancers, and maintaining urinary tract health.
(Source: Apple Fruit Facts)

Nutrition Facts:
  • Low Calorie: Apples are low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit slices provide only 50 calories. While they do not contain any saturated fats or cholesterol, they are rich in dietary fiber which helps prevent absorption of dietary LDL cholesterol in the gut. The dietary fibers also help protect the mucous membrane of the colon from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon.
  • Vitamin C: Apples contains good quantities of Vitamin C and Beta Carotene. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant and consumption of foods rich in Vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
  • Anti-Oxidants: Apples are rich in antioxidant phyto-nutrients flavonoids and polyphenols. The total measured anti-oxidant strength (ORAC value) of 100 g apple fruit is 5900 TE. The important flavonoids in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
  • Vitamin B: apples are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin and pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6). Together, these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the body.
  • Minerals: apples contain small amount of minerals like potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus counters the bad influences of sodium
(Source: Apple Fruit Nutrition Facts)



The apple tree is so widespread that it is almost impossible to pin down its origin. Charred remains of prehistoric crab apples found at archaeological sites throughout Europe bear witness to the fact that wild apples, or crab apple, as it is also known, has been at home throughout central Europe since Neolithic times. The first cultivated varieties probably reached northern parts of Europe with the Romans. Today apples are grown in all temperate regions of the globe. [5] As of June 2008, the top ten apple producers were China (27,507,000 metric tons), the United States (4,237,730 metric tons), Iran (2,660,000 metric tons), Turkey (2,266,437 metric tons), Russia (2,211,000 metric tons), Italy (2,072,500), India (2,001,400 metric tons), France (1,800,000 metric tons), Chile (1,390,000 metric tons) and Argentina (1,300,000 metric tons).[4] According to FAO Stat, the United States exported 663,465 metric tons of apples in 2007. This was 7.8% of the world’s total apple exports and was enough for the United States to rank fifth in that category. Chile ranked first, exporting 1,549,269 metric tons of apples or 18.2% of the total world exports. [13]


Distribution of Apples in North America
Distribution of Apples in North America


external image Bragg+Apple+Cider+Vinegar.gif
Apples are a wonderful, healing food, easy for the body to digest and able to correct over-acidity of the stomach. They are particularly rich in pectin, a soluble fibre that forms a jelly-like substance, as any jam-maker will know. Pectin, available in its purified form, is used to help set marmalades and jams. In the body it helps to regulate digestion, forms a protective coating in the intestines and soothes inflamed tissues. Thus, apples can be used to treat both diarrhoea and constipation. They are also highly recommended for balancing blood sugar levels, as they prevent those dangerous spikes and lows. Apples are cooling and anti-inflammatory. They are wonderfully refreshing and thirst quenching during convalescence, especially when suffering from feverish conditions, coughs and colds. Apple tea, usually prepared by infusing minced fruit or peels in hot water, is not only a delicious drink, but also increases uric acid elimination and is helpful as a supportive remedy in the treatment of arthritic and rheumatic conditions as well as rheumatoid kidney and liver disease. An apple diet is recommended for gout, constipation, haemorrhoids, bladder and kidney disease. An apple at bed time improves the quality of sleep and helps to control night sweat.

Bees love the nectar rich apple blossoms in spring. The petals can be infused as a tea to treat feverish conditions, especially those that affect the upper respiratory tract. Apple blossom tea also soothes and calms the nerves.

Apples cider vinegar is also excellent, not just for salads, but for a whole host of health conditions. It is very rich in calcium and can help to improve calcium deficiency related problems such as loss of concentration and memory, weak muscle tone, poor circulation, badly healing wounds, general itchiness, aching joints and lack of appetite. Apple cider vinegar detoxifies by supporting the eliminative function of the kidneys. Thus, it is a helpful supportive aid for arthritis, gout, rheumatism and skin conditions. It is also beneficial for sinusitis, high blood pressure, migraine, chronic exhaustion and night sweats. To make use of this healthful elixir, dilute one tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 6-8 oz of water. This may be sweetened with honey. (Further information on Apple Cider Vinegar can be reached here: The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar)

(Source: Sacred Earth: Apple)


Conventional vs. Organic

Upon entering a grocery store, consumers are always faced with the choice of buying either conventional or organic fruits and vegetables. While it most often comes down to a matter of price, there are many factors to take into account before choosing to buy conventional or organic apples.

According to the latest information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), conventional apples have the highest rate of pesticide contamination (or their breakdown products) in 98% of the samples tested. In fact, there were 36 different pesticides found on one sample apple. And, think of how much apple juice, applesauce, and apple slices babies and young children typically ingest. [6] The Environmental Working Group, in their "Pesticides in Produce guide" ( rate apples as number two on the list of highest pesticide residues and peaches as number one. The next eight are as follows: sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach and lettuce. [6] While there is no evidence that says pesticides can harm someone, most safety tests do not look at the low dose exposures to pesticide and chemical mixtures that we all experience. Thus, much exposure to these pesticides in apples can in fact alter our health in the long run.

A Complete List of Pesticides, Acaricides, Fungicides, Bactericides, Herbicides, Nematicides and Rodenticides used in Apple Orchards can be found here: Apple Pesticides


A trend in orchard management is the use of organic methods. These use less aggressive and direct methods of conventional farming. Instead of spraying potent chemicals, often shown to be potentially dangerous and maleficent to the tree in the long run, organic methods include encouraging or discouraging certain cycles and pests. To control a specific pest, organic growers might encourage the prosperity of its natural predators instead of killing the pest outright, and with it the natural biochemistry around the tree. Organic apples generally have the same or greater taste than conventionally grown apples, with reduced cosmetic appearances. [7] However, while both types of apples have many similarities, there are many benefits for choosing organic apples, such as:

The Choice:
According to the Environmental Working Group's 2011 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce," apples are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of apples unless they are grown organically. Individuals willing to accept some level of pesticide-associated health risks may decide to consume non-organic apples. Under those circumstances, it is recommended to thoroughly rinsing the entire apple under a stream of pure running water while gently scrubbing the skin with a natural bristle brush for 10-15 seconds.

Fun Fact: The History of Apple Inc.

Founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs
Founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs

Why 'Apple'?
The story behind the billion dollar company is in fact quite simple. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in March 1, 1976 wanted to start a computer company and they needed a name to register it as incorporation. According to Wozniak, both he and Steve were driving along the Highway 85 between Palo Alto and Los Altos. Steve Jobs came up with a name “Apple Computers” during that trip. Steve Jobs had been working in a community type apple farm in Oregon and became inspired to name the company Apple Computers from his fondness of the crisp, round fruit. He also admired the Beatles' record label, Apple, which the Fab Four formed in the late 1960s. Steve Jobs consulted with his co-founders, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, and said if they could not think of a better name than “Apple” by the end of the day, then that would be the name used. Both Wozniak and Jobs tried other alternate names such as Executex and Matrix Electronics, but they didn’t like it as much as Apple Computers. And the name was born.

Choosing a Logo
external image apple-logo-apples2.jpg
Deciding a logo for the new company took a little longer than setting a name. Apple's first logo was designed by Steve Jobs and drawn by Ronald Wayne depicting Sir. Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree, with a banner reading “Apple Computer" and the frame itself have a quotation from words Wordsworth: “Newton...A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought...Alone.” However, Steve Jobs thought this logo was too busy and wanted a simpler one that consumers would instantly recognize and associate with the company. The next logo bore a close resemblance to the current one in use, displaying an apple, only without the single bite taken out of it. Jobs and Wozniak unveiled the next attempt at a logo - the one still used by the company - in 1977. The logo features an apple with a leaf and a single bite taken out of it. The bite taken out of the apple recalls the "byte," a unit of measurement in the computer industry.

Macintosh Apple
The fruit theme continued at Apple with the introduction of its first Macintosh computer (popularly known today as the Mac or iMac) in 1984. Apple employee Jef Reskin wanted to design a user-friendly computer and reportedly named it after his favorite type of apple, the McIntosh. The spelling of the name was altered for legal reasons, as another company already used the name McIntosh. The Mac was the first computer to use a mouse and a graphical interface, two features now common in all computers.

What is the Apple Referring to?

  • Sir Isaac Newton: One idea is that the apple refers to the apple that fell on Newton’s head when he discovered gravity.
  • Alan Turing: Many have speculated that it is the reference to the father of modern computer Alan Turing, who was imprisoned on the charges of homosexuality in 1952. He was first subjected to chemical castration treatment with female hormones and in 1954; he eventually killed himself by taking a bite of a cyanide injected apple. Also Alan's favorite childhood story was Snow-White, who falls asleep forever after eating a poisoned apple to be later woken up by a prince.
  • Garden of Eden:It may also be a reference to the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. The bite taken out of the apple in the logo suggests a reference to the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil' in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, the Apple Company could be referring to Eve, the Serpent, or the knowledge itself.

Becoming Apple Inc.
The company was known as Apple Computer Inc. until 2006, when it changed its name to Apple Inc. to reflect its expansion from computers into home electronic devices. By this time, Apple's iPod digital music device had made the company the leader in digital music players. With the introduction of the iPhone, Apple entered the mobile phone market as well.
(Sources: The Meaning Behind Apple's Logo, Why Apple is Apple?, How Did Apple Computers Get its Name?)

The Evolution of the Apple Logo

Some Apple Sites:


[1]Pillai, Maya. "Different Types of Apples." Buzzle Web Portal: Intelligent Life on the Web. Web. July 2011. <>.
[2] Lynd, Mitch. "Apple History." Great Moments in Apple History. Web. 27 July 2011. <>.
[3] "Apple Fruit - Information & Facts about the Wonder Fruit Apple." PHPKB Knowledge Base Software | Knowledge Management Software. Web. July 2011. <>.
[4] JavaScript Kit. FAOSTAT. Web. July 2011. <>.
[5] "Apple (Malus Sp) - History and Uses - Sacred Earth Ethnobotany Resources." Sacred Earth Newsletter - Ethnobotany Network and Resources for Sustainable Living - Spring 2011. Web. July 2011. <>.
[6] Todisco, Amy. "Conventional Apples: The Fruit With The Highest Amount Of Pesticide Residue." Self Improvement from Web. July 2011. <>.
[7] Pittsburgh Section, University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering, School of Engineering, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Pittsburgh Section, Instrument Society of America, Instrument Society of America Pittsburgh Section, University of Pittsburgh (1981). Modeling and Simulation: Proceedings of the Annual Pittsburgh Conference. Instrument Society of America.
[8]"Pesticide Information Profiles." EXTOXNET - The EXtension TOXicology NETwork. Web. July 2011. <>.
[9]"Malus X Domestica (apple): Facts, Biology, Fruit Anatomy at GeoChemBio." GeoChemBio (GCB) - Ecology and General Biology. Web. July 2011. <>.
[10] "Apples." The World's Healthiest Foods. Web. July 2011.
[11] "Rosaceae - Rose Family." Montana Plant Life - Flora and Identification of Edible, Medicinal and Poisonous Plants. Web. July 2011. <>.
[12] Todisco, Amy. "Conventional Apples: The Fruit With The Highest Amount Of Pesticide Residue." Self Improvement from Web. July 2011. <>.
[13] "2010 February Ranking America." Ranking America. Web. July 2011.
[14]"The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan: Apples." The Adventures of Tobasco Da Gama. Web. July 2011.
[15] "The Meaning Behind Apple's Logo." Warrior Of Light. Web. July 2011.
[16] "Why Apple Is Apple? History of the Brand Name." HubPages. Web. July 2011.
[17] Hall, Shane. "How Did Apple Computers Get Its Name? |" Web. July 2011. <>.