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Malus pumila Apple Apel Rosaceae

Pomme, Manzana, apel, Malus pumila

Pomme, Manzana, apel, Malus pumila

Malus pumila

Possibly the most common fruit in the world (at least in temperate climates), the apple comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Though a temperate fruit, a select few varieties can be grown in subtropical and tropical climates.

Description: A deciduous tree to about 15-25ft. Blossoms occur in spring and in most varieties are quite ornamental.

Hardiness: Frost hardy.

Growing Environment: The average apple tree needs 750-1000 hours of chilling each winter. This is defined as temperatures between 32F-45F. Temperatures below 32F have no effect on chilling hours, while temperatures above 45F have a negative effect, resulting in the tree needing additional chilling hours for proper flowering. A few varieties of apples have been developed that need less than 100 hours of chilling and in some cases, through several manual methods, trees may be coaxed into flowering without the temperature dropping below 60F. Most so-called low chill apples, if untended, will require 200-300 hours of chilling. In tropical climatePomme, Manzana, apel, Malus pumilas, some sort of manual pruning is a must for fruit production. Low Chill Varieties Anna - The most well-known of the low chill varieties, the Anna produces nicely sized red fruits similar to the golden delicious from which this variety was developed. Needs pollination from another variety. Dorsett Golden - Yellow skinned apple that is often seedless. Needs pollination from another variety. The main technique for fruit production employed in tropical climates that don't meet chilling requirements is manual defoliation of the leaves. By seasonally pruning off all of the leaves on a tree, the apple is fooled into believing that natural defoliation has occurred due to winter, which causes chemical hormone changes in the plant that lead to the onset of flowering. The method is simple, but effective, and if done properly can yield 2-3 crops per year. In rarer cases, less-tropical apple varieties that have higher chilling requirements can be grafted onto the "tropical" apples and through defoliation, can be coaxed into fruiting.

Propagation: Most varieties are grafted, but apples can be grown from seed, and seeds are a source of new varieties.

Uses: Eaten fresh, juiced, and used to prepare all sorts of foods.

Native Range: The apple is believed to be native to the Caucasus mountain region in Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. The apple was historically one of the first fruits to be cultivated.