The apple tree is a deciduous tree belonging to the rose family.
Apple trees originated from
The great Flavour of an apple depends on maturity. A good quality apple will be firm with a smooth, clean skin. Immature apples will lack colour and flavour. Over-mature fruit will be flowery and lack the crunch of a firm apple.
Did you know there are more than 7500 varieties of apples grown in the world.
Temperature is the most important factor of successfully growing apples. Apples are temperate-zone crops. They prefer winter temperatures of 7°C or below. If the winter is too mild, the flower buds open longer. This leads to poor growth and cropping. The amount of sunshine is important in apple colour formation. Good soil drainage is essential, for apple tree vigour, as too much water reduces the oxygen available for root growth.
The original home of the apple is not known, but historians believe it to have been in the region of the Caspian Sea. Wild apples of prehistoric time were quite different from those we know today, small - probably only 2-5cm in diameter and very bitter. Cultivation probably started with the beginning of agriculture in Europe, and documents record methods of cultivation as far back as 2000 years ago.
In Australia, the settlers who arrived with Governor Phillip with the First Fleet in 1788 planted the first apple trees. Early in the 19th century, large areas were planted with fruit trees, including apple trees to the south and west of Sydney. At this time John Pascoe Fawkner established a fruit tree nursery in Launceston, Tasmania and apple trees from this nursery were taken to Portland, Victoria, in 1834 and to Melbourne in 1837.
Apples, known together with pears as Pome fruits, were first planted in the Stanthorpe area about 1873.
Among the few Australian fruit varieties of commercial importance, Granny Smith is now one of the major apple varieties known the world over. It originated in the garden of Mrs Maria Ann Smith, in Eastwood, Sydney in about 1868.
Another famous Australian bred variety is Pink Lady, bred in WA by the Department of Agriculture.
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