apple, any tree (and its fruit) of the genus Malus of the family Rosaceae (rose family). Apples were formerly considered species of the pear genus Pyrus, with which they share the characteristic pome fruit. The common apple (M. sylvestris) is the best known and is commercially the most important temperate fruit. Apparently native to the Caucasus Mts. of W Asia, it has been under cultivation since prehistoric times. According to ancient tradition, the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden was the apple (Gen. 3). In religious painting, the apple represents the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as do occasionally the pear and the quince. It was sacred to Aphrodite in classical mythology. The apple is now widely grown in thousands of varieties, e.g., the Golden Delicious, Winesap, Jonathan, and McIntosh. The tree is hardy in cold climates, and the firm fruit is easy to handle and store. Most apples are consumed fresh, but some are canned or used for juice. Apple juice (sweet cider) is partly fermented to produce hard cider and fully fermented to make vinegar. Wastes from fermenting processes are a major source of pectin. Applejack is a liquor made from hard cider. Western Europe, especially France, is the chief apple-producing region; in North America, also with an enormous total output, Washington is the leading apple-growing state, but very many areas grow crops at least for local consumption. The tree is subject to several insect and fungus pests, for which the orchards are sprayed. The hardwood is used for cabinetmaking and fuel. The crab apples are wild North American and Asian species of Malus now cultivated as ornamentals for their fragrant white to deep pink blossoms—e.g., the American sweet, or garland, crab apple (M. coronaria), the prairie crab apple (M. ioensis), and the Siberian crab apple (M. baccata). The small, hard, sour crab-apple fruits are used for preserves, pickles, and jelly; in growth and culture these trees are similar to the common apple. Apples are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.

Custard apple (Annona reticulata).

Any of various Annona species of shrubs or small trees of the family Annonaceae, native to the New World tropics and Florida. The family is the largest in the magnolia order and contains approximately 1,100 species of plants in 122 genera. Many species in the family are valuable for their large, pulpy fruits. Others are valued for their timber, and still others as ornamentals. Leaves and wood are often fragrant. The fruit is a berry. The small, tropical American custard apple (Annona reticulata) bears fruits with reddish-yellow, sweetish, custardlike flesh. Other species include the sweetsop (A. squamosa) and the soursop (A. muricata). Bark, leaves, and roots of many species are important in folk medicine.

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Expressed juice of apples. Apples are ground to a fine pulp and then pressed. Hard (alcoholic) cider is fermented in vats for up to three months before being filtered and aged (see fermentation). Sweet cider is unfermented and either drunk fresh (as in the U.S.) or mellowed in pressurized tanks first (particularly in Europe). Most cider in the U.S. is now pasteurized. Juice that is pasteurized, treated with a preservative, and often clarified before being hermetically sealed in cans or bottles is marketed as apple juice.

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Fruit of the genus Malus, in the rose family, the most widely cultivated tree fruit. Malus species are native to the temperate zones of both hemispheres. They require a considerable period of dormancy, well-drained soil, careful pruning in early years of growth, and a rigorous pest-management program for mature trees. The apple is one of the pome (fleshy) fruits. Apples at harvest vary widely in size, shape, colour, and acidity, but most are fairly round and some shade of red or yellow. The thousands of varieties fall into three broad classes: cider, cooking, and dessert varieties. Varieties that ripen in late summer generally do not store well, but those that ripen in late autumn may be stored for as long as a year. The largest producers of apples are the U.S., China, France, Italy, and Turkey. Eaten fresh or cooked in various ways, apples provide vitamins A and C, carbohydrates, and fibre.

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The McIntosh Red (McIntosh, Mac) is an apple cultivar with red and green skin, a tart flavor, and tender white flesh. It becomes ripe in late September. It is traditionally the most popular cultivar in New England, well known for the pink sauce unpeeled McIntoshes make. Many consider it a superior eating apple and well suited for applesauce, cider, and pies. It is extremely common to find this particular cultivar packed in children's lunches across North America owing to its small to medium size and longstanding reputation as a healthy snack.

Every McIntosh apple has a direct lineage to a single tree discovered in 1811 by John McIntosh on his farm in Dundela, a hamlet located in Dundas County in the Canadian province of Ontario, near Morrisburg.

Offspring of the Mac include the firmer Macoun (a Jersey Black cross), Spartan (recorded as a Newtown Pippin cross), Cortland, Empire, Jonamac, maybe Paula Red, Jersey Mac, and others.

Borrowing the name

Jef Raskin, a computer scientist, is credited with naming the Apple Macintosh, a computer system, after the fruit, adopting a very common misspelling often seen in grocery stores. It is possible that this spelling was used to avoid confusion with the high end audio manufacturer McIntosh. Due to the success of the Macintosh computer line(which has since been renamed 'Mac'), the misspelling of the cultivar has become ever more common.

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