The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. The tree is small and deciduous, reaching tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5 to 12 cm long and broad on a petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, and in diameter. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically diameter. The center of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds
The tree originated from Central Asia, where its wild ancestor is still found today. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.
At least 55 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2005, with a value of about $10 billion. China produced about 35% of this total. The United States is the second leading producer, with more than 7.5% of the world production. Turkey, France, Italy, and Iran are also among the leading apple exporters.
The wild ancestors of Malus domestica are Malus sieversii, which is found growing wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang,China, and possibly also Malus sylvestris.
- "Apple". Jinxiang High Garlics Co., Ltd. http://www.higarlics.com/newEbiz1/EbizPortalFG/portal/html/ProgramShow3.html?ProgramShow_ProgramID=c373e9167239ed628ffe0a538dcfe845. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- Lauri, Pierre-éric; Karen Maguylo, Catherine Trottier (2006). "Architecture and size relations: an essay on the apple (Malus x domestica, Rosaceae) tree". American Journal of Botany (Botanical Society of America, Inc.) (93): 357–368.
- Coart, E., Van Glabeke, S., De Loose, M., Larsen, A.S., Roldán-Ruiz, I. 2006. Chloroplast diversity in the genus Malus: new insights into the relationship between the European wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) and the domesticated apple (Malus domestica Borkh.). Mol. Ecol. 15(8): 2171-82.