Mittwoch, 27. April 2011

Plant of the Day (Apirl 27th, 2011) - Malus domestica Borkenh.

Malus domestica Borkenh., the apple, is one of the best known fruit trees of the world. Everybody knows this tree and its fruits. It plays a great role in mythology (“Paris apple” of the Iliad, “The story of Adam and Eva” of the bible etc.) and is the origin of so many products like apple juist, apple cake and so on.

The species belongs to the family of the Rosaceae. This is a big family with four sub-families: the Spiraeoide, the Rosoidae, the Prunoidae and the Maloidae, where the apple belongs to.

M. domestica Borkenh.

M. domestica is a tree, which can reach a high between 3 and 10 metres (9,8 – 32,8 feet). It has elliptical leaves with finely serrated margins and a hairy underside. The flowers have white petals and green sepals. Sometimes flowers can also be pink.

M. domestica Borkenh. - flowers

Typical for the apple are its fruits. In Botanical sense, the apple fruit is an accessory fruit. That means, that only the core of the apple is its true fruit. The rest, what we eat, is the bottom of the flower, which becomes fleshy after pollination and grows around the carpels. The true fruit, the center of the apple consists of five free carpels, which forms follicles with the seed in the middle. The wall of the carpels is parchment-like.

The typical fruit of M. domestica Borkenh.

here you can see the true fruit (the "caves" in the Middle and
brown teardrop shaped area arround it) and the "fake-Fruit",
formed by the bottom of the flower

The origin of apple is unknown, but scientists believe, that its ancestor is the Asian wild apple (Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) M. Roem), native in China, with influences of Malus orientalis Uglitzk. Then, during the middle age, it came to Europe. Today over 8.000 breeds of M. domestica exists all over the World.

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