Apple, common name for the fruit of the
genus Malus from the family Rosaceae, and is the most widely
cultivated tree fruit. Most table apples are of the species M.
domestica or hybrids of it.
The wild ancestor of Malus domestica is probably Malus sieversii
(which has no common name), a tree still found wild in the
mountains of central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, and Xinjiang Province, China. Researchers are
working with M. sieversii, which is resistant to many diseases
and pests, in order to create hardier and more disease-resistant
Other species that were previously thought to have made
contributions to the genome of the domestic apples are Malus
baccata and Malus sylvestris.
Modern apples are, as a rule, sweeter than older cultivars. Most
North Americans and Europeans favor sweet, subacid apples.
Extremely sweet apples with barely any acid flavor are popular
Apples have been a very important food in all
cooler climates. To a greater degree than other tree fruit, except
possibly citrus, apples store for months while still retaining much of
their nutritive value.