Another non-native – but cultivated here for thousands of years – is the apple, or Malus Domestica of the Rosaceae family. Originally from central Asia, the apple tree can now be found in many parts of the world. Left to their own devices, these trees can grow up to 10 metres tall, so they are often grafted onto other rootstock to control this height.
Apples are easy to identify in the summer months, starting in May and June with white-pinkish blossoms before growing into the fruits we know and love. Leaves are oval with serrated edges and are very furry underneath. The apple bark is grey, often with bumps, scales and ridges. Here in the UK, there are over 2,500 different varieties of apple, which are used for eating, cooking and making cider. Globally, there are over 7,000 varieties, making the apple one of the most widely cultivated fruit trees in the world.
The annual global crop of apples averages over 60 million metric tonnes per year!