Saturday, February 13, 2021

History and origin of apples

Its primary wild ancestor is Malus sieversii whose range is centered at the border between western China and the former Soviet Union originated 4000 to 10000 years ago. This species is diverse and wild trees bearing the full range of forms, colors, and tastes are found in Kazakhstan and other independent countries of Central Asia formed from the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The cultivated apple then underwent hybridization with its wild relatives during its spread from the Tian Shan Mountains westward along the Silk Route.

Apples were certainly one of the earliest fruits to be gathered by people, and their domestication was probably preceded by a long period of unintentional planting via garbage disposal.

Based on combined archaeological and molecular data, it seems likely that, in the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, travelers on the great trade routes that ran from central China to the Danube, carried the seed of the Central Asian wild apple west, either in saddle bags or horses’guts.

It was known to the Greeks and Romans and mentioned by Theophrastus in the third century BC. It is difficult to determine exactly when the apple was first domesticated, but the Greeks and Romans were growing apples at least 2,500 years ago. They actively selected superior seedlings and were budding and grafting 2,000 years ago.

Grafting is a practice that is thought to have begun about 3800 years ago based on a cuneiform description of budwood importation for grape in Mesopotamia. Indirect evidence has been obtained for the cultivation of apples 3000 years ago in Mesopotamia.

The Romans probably learned apple grafting, cultivation, harvesting, and storage from the Greeks, and brought the production chain technology to the rest of their empire.

The Romans brought the whole package to Western Europe and, for the last 2000 years, the domesticated apple has diversified and flourished worldwide. It was dispersed to the New World by European settlers during the sixteenth century.

During the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, M. domestica cultivars found or bred in Europe, Russia, North America, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia were introduced throughout the world and form the basis for most current commercial apple production.
History and origin of apples