The apple tree – malus domesticus – first grew in Asia, but it is now found in its numerous cultivated forms – over 7500 – throughout the world. The crab apple – malus sylvestris – is native to Britain. It has small, sour fruits and its own range of uses (eg crab apple jelly). Cultivated apple trees vary in height from under 2m to over 10m, and have an average life span of 100 years. The fruits provide food for animals and birds (especially blackbirds and thrushes) as well as humans. Apples are used for cooking and for eating raw, for making into cider, vinegar and spirits, and for jams, chutneys, mincemeats and other preserves. Apple wood is occasionally used for carving.
The apple is associated symbolically with youth and fertility. It is also linked to the sin of temptation although the actual type of fruit eaten by Adam and Eve is not specified in the Book of Genesis.
Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. Song of Solomon 2:5
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. Martin Luther