In the absence of any substantial research on the native Wild Apple in the UK, the authors began their own study on the ecology and genetics of Wild Apple in northern Britain. Here, Richard Worrell, Markus Ruhsam and James Renny share what they found, and tell the unusual story of Britain’s apple trees.
Small, perfect apples growing in a farm hedge or copse are one of the delights of the British countryside in autumn, but what do we know about the trees on which they grow? Are they Crab or Wild Apple Malus sylvestris – the ‘forest apple’ according to its scientific name? Or are these actually cultivated trees planted by farmers and foresters? Or maybe even the progeny from apple cores flung by passing people?