Etymology: from Latin "Pomum", "fruit with pip", which indicates as well the apple as the quince or the grenade. This family is characterised by fleshy fruits, with skin and calyx (shriveled remains of the sepals, style and stamens of the flower), containing pips (which are seeds). Origin: Middle East; its precise origin is unknown: traces including in Switzerland were found. It was known and appreciated by the Greeks and Romans. The wild Apple tree is often prickly. It is spontaneous in hedges and it carries small fruits. Varieties: decorative red apple tree (small fruits) and the culture varieties, as the Queen of rennets or the Golden Delicious delicious, which delight the landscapes of Normandy, during blossoming in May. Hardiness: zone 7 (it supports cold until -17 °C or 1 °F). The Apple tree is less demanding than the pear tree in terms of sweetness. Some varieties can withstand rigorous gels. Form (insulated tree): broad crown, dense foliage. Maximum size : 10 m tall.
Smooth, light grey bark, shedding in dark grey rectangular scales with dark brown on elderly plants.
Deciduous foliage. Leaves alternate (4 cm), oval, toothed, dark green over, whitish on the underside. Stems with prickly tips. Flowers hermaphrodite, grouped in sparse corymbs, raised and shortly stalkeds. Corollas whitish rose have 5 petals and hatch in April or May. They have from 20 to 50 stamens with yellow anthers and 5 styles welded at the base.
Fruit: the apple, small and not edible in the wild apple tree and the decorative apple trees. The Apple tree is productive after10 years. Uses: apple is a fruit that stores better than peach, although less than orange. It is used to make cider, which absorbs the surplus and facilitates local processing, without transporting the product to urban consumption. The flesh of the apple is used in the composition of ointments or "pomades". Its wood is reddish, clear, hard, dense and heavy. It splits easily by hand, but it dries slowly with the risk of splitting. Because of its compactness, its wood is easily worked in sculpture. It is popular for furniture.
Maintenance: the Apple tree is pruned, for its production. See advice of pruning.
As most fruit trees, the Apple tree is threatened by bacteria, insects and other diseases as the Mark (Venturia inaequalis), Oïdium (Podosphaera leucotricha) and the Canker of the collar (Phytophtora cactorum).
For the treatment, see this page.
The destructives also are to fear.
Legends and traditions: In Greek mythology, the apple tree is the solar tree (because of the form of the fruit). The apple is the fruit of immortality: Hades, god of Hell, offers one, each spring, to his wife Persephone, he has taken out of the earth when she goes back to earth to join her mother and announce the spring. Pomona was the goddess of fruit. Among the 12 works of his martyrdom, Heracles had to search for the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides, guarded by the serpent Ladon. The apple was the gift of Paris to the most beautiful Lady, which sowed discord among the contenders for this coveted title. Snow White's apple brings misfortune. For Guillaume Tell, it symbolizes freedom.
In Celtic astrology, the apple tree is the tree of love.
- in March, "March windy, orchard full of apples".
- on February 12th, "If the sun shines for Sainte-Eulalie, Apples and cider in madness".
- on April 4th, "On Saint-Isidore, if the sun browns, the wheat will be high and hoary, but the apple tree will be bare".
- in April again: "If thunders in April, prepare your barrel".
- on August 11th, "If, on the day of St Clare, the day is hot and clear, count on fruits with knife, surely they will be nice".
- "September produces the most delectable of fruits".
- September 30th, "At Saint-Jerome, shake your apples".
This last saying alludes to the advantageous period of harvest of apples with cider, period which is in really end of September in Normandy (an official day is announced, as for grape harvests).
Songs on the apple tree: Regarding apple tree by Charles Aznavour, The apple tree with apples by Gilbert Bécaud, Apple tree of paradise by Claude Nougaro.
Japanese apple tree, introduced into Europe in 1862. Size: 5 m tall.
Its fruits (small apples) are not edible, but without danger. They constitute a nice decoration at the beginning of the winter, because they stay for a long time on the tree without getting rot. They compete with hawthorns, which are also very decorative.
Their leaves are heterophyllous ("shape diverse"), sometimes lobed (which can be confused with some maples also Asian). Some varieties have leaves tomentose underside. Use: we plant the decorative apple trees in public gardens and kindergartens, because of their small size and their fruits in winter, which moreover, are without danger, and leave to the curious a bitter-sweet taste.