Folded stem on apples - does it have a name?

Folded stem on apples - does it have a name?

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I have some Newton Wonder apple trees. One feature of the apples it bears is that the flesh around the stalk is occasionally elongated out of the calyx. Below is a picture that shows this on the near side.

Is there a specific name for this feature in apples?

6 Major Types of Inflorescence (With Diagrams) | Botany

The following points highlight the six major types of inflorescence. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Racemose Inflorescence 2. Cymose Inflorescence 3. Compound 4. Cyathium 5. Verticillaster 6. Hypanthodium.

Inflorescence: Type # 1. Racemose Inflorescence:

In this type of inflorescence the main axis does not end in a flower, but it grows continuously and develops flowers on its lateral sides in acropetal succession (i.e., the lower or outer flowers are older than the upper or inner ones). The various forms of racemose inflorescence may be described under three heads.

(i) With the main axis elongated, i.e., (a) raceme (b) spike (c) spikelets (d) catkin and (e) spadix.

(ii) With the main axis shortened, i.e., (i) corymb and (ii) umbel.

(iii) With the main axis flattened, i.e., capitulum or head.

(i) Main Axis Elongated:

In such cases the main axis remains elongated and it bears laterally a number of stalked flowers. The lower or older flowers possess longer stalks than the upper or younger ones, e.g., radish (Raphanus sativus), mustard (Brassica campestris), etc.

When the main axis of raceme is branched and the lateral branches bear the flowers, the inflorescence is known as compound raceme or panicle, e.g., neem (Azadirachta indica), gul-mohar (Delonix regia), etc.

The main axis of the inflorescence together with the latest axes, if present, is termed as the peduncle. The stalk of the individual flower of the inflorescence is called the pedicel.

In this type of racemose inflorescence the main axis remains elongated and the lower flowers are older, i.e., opening earlier than the upper ones, as found in raceme, but here the flowers are sessile, i.e., without pedicel or stalk, e.g., amaranth (Amaranthus spp.), latjira (Achyranthes aspera), etc.

Each spikelet may bear one to several flowers (florets) attached to a central stalk known as rachilla. Spikeletes are arranged in a spike inflorescence which is composed of several to many spikelets which are combined in various manners on a main axis called the rachis. Some are in compound spikes (i.e., in wheat—Triticum aestivum), others are in racemes (e.g., in Festuca), while some are in panicles (e.g., in Avena).

The usual structure of spikelet is as— There is a pair of sterile glumes at the base of spikelet, the lower, outer glume called the first, and the upper, inner one called the second. Just above the glumes, there is series of florets, partly enclosed by them.

Each floret has at its base a lemma and palea. The lemma is the lower, outer bract of the floret. Usually the lemma also known as inferior palea bears a long awn as an extension of the mid-rib at the apex or back.

The floral parts borne in the axil of lemma. The palea (also known as superior palea) often with two longitudinal ridges (keels or nerves), stands between the lemma and the rachilla. Flowers and glumes are arranged on the spikelet in two opposite rows. Spikeletes are characteristic of Poaceae (Gramineae) or Grass family, e.g., grasses, wheat, barley, oats, sorghum, sugarcane, bamboo, etc.

This is a modified spike with a long and drooping axis bearing unisexual flowers, e.g., mulberry (Moras alba), birch (Betula spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), etc.

This is also a modification of spike inflorescence having a fleshy axis, which remains enclosed by one or more large, often brightly coloured bracts, the spathes, e.g., in members of Araceae, Musaceae and Palmaceae. This inflorescence is found only in monocotyledonous plants.

(ii) Main Axis Shortened:

In this inflorescence the main axis remains comparatively short and the lower flowers possess much longer stalks or pedicels than the upper ones so that all the flowers are brought more or less to the same level, e.g., in candytuft (Iberis amara).

In this inflorescence the primary axis remains comparatively short, and it bears at its tip a group of flowers which possess pedicels or stalks of more or less equal lengths so that the flowers are seen to spread out from a common point. In this inflorescence a whorl of bracts forming an involucre is always present, and each individual flower develops from the axil of a bract.

Generally the umbel is branched and is known as umbel of umbels (compound umbel), and the branches bear flowers, e.g., in coriander (Coriandrum sativum), fennel, carrot, etc. Sometimes, the umbel is un-branched and known as simple umbel, e.g., Brahmi (Centella asiatica). This inflorescence (umbel) is characteristic of Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family.

(iii) Main Axis Flattened:

In this type of inflorescence the main axis or receptacle becomes suppressed, and almost flat, and the flowers (also known as florets) are sessile (without stalk) so that they become crowded together on the flat surface of the receptacle. The florets are arranged in a centripetal manner on the receptacle, i.e., the outer flowers are older and open earlier than the inner ones.

The individual flowers (florets) are bracteate. In addition the whole inflorescence remains surrounded by a series of bracts arranged in two or three whorls.

The flowers (florets) are usually of two kinds:

(i) Ray florets (marginal strap-shaped flowers) and

(ii) Disc florets (central tubular flowers).

The capitulum (head) may also consist of only one kind of florets, e.g., only tubular florets in Ageratum or only ray or strap-shaped florets in Sonchus. A capitulum or head is characteristic of Asteraceae (Compositae) family, e.g., sunflower (Helianthus annuus), marigold (Tagetes indica), safflower (Carthamus tinctorius). Zinnia, Cosmos, Tridax, Vernonia, etc. Besides, it is also found in Acacia and sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) of Mimosaceae family.

The capitulum inflorescence has been considered to be the most perfect. The reasons are as follows:

The individual flowers are quite small and massed together in heads, and therefore, they add to greater conspicuousness to attract the insects and flies for pollination.

At the same time there is a considerable saving of material in the construction of the corolla and other floral parts.

A single insect may pollinate flowers in a short time without flying from one flower to another.

Inflorescence: Type # 2. Cymose Inflorescence:

In this type of inflorescence the growth of the main axis is ceased by the development of a flower at its apex, and the lateral axis which develops the terminal flower also culminates in a flower and its growth is also ceased. The flowers may be pedicellate (stalked) or sessile (without stalk).

Here the flowers develop in basipetal succession, i.e., the terminal flower is the oldest and the lateral ones younger. This type of opening of flowers is known as centrifugal.

The cymose inflorescence may be of four main types:

(i) Uniparous or monochasial cyme

(ii) Biparous or dichasial cyme

(iii) Multiparous or polychasial cyme and

(i) Uniparous or Monochasial Cyme:

Here the main axis ends in a flower and it produces only one lateral branch at a time ending in a flower. The lateral and succeeding branches again produce only one branch at a time like the primary one.

There are three forms of uniparous cyme:

(a) Helicoid Cyme:

When the lateral axes develop successively on the same side, forming a sort of helix, the cymose inflorescence is known as helicoid or one-sided cyme, e.g., in Begonia, Juncus, Hemerocallis and some members of Solanaceae.

(b) Scorpioid Cyme:

When the lateral branches develop on alternate sides, forming a zigzag, the cymose inflorescence is known as scorpioid or alternate-sided cyme, e.g., in Gossypium (cotton), Drosera (sundew), Heliotropium, Freesia, etc.

(c) Symopodial Cyme:

Sometimes, in monocha­sial or uniparous cyme successive axes may be at first curved or zig-zag (as in scorpioid cyme) but later on it becomes straight due to rapid growth, thus forming a central or pseudoaxis. This type of inflorescence is known as sympodial cyme as found in some members of Solanaceae (e.g., Solanum nigrum).

(ii) Biparous or Dichasial Cyme:

In this type of inflorescence the peduncle bears a terminal flower and stops growing. At the same time the peduncle produces two lateral younger flowers or two lateral branches each of which terminates in a flower.

There are three flowers the oldest one is in the centre. The lateral and succeeding branches in their turn behave in the same manner, e.g., jasmine, teak, Ixora, Saponaria, etc. This is also known as true cyme or compound dichasium.

(iii) Multiparous or Polychasial Cyme:

In this type of cymose inflorescence the main axis culminates in a flower, and at the same time it again produces a number of lateral flowers around. The oldest flower is in the centre and ends the main floral axis (peduncle). This is a simple polychasium.

The whole inflorescence looks like an umbel, but is readily distinguished from the latter by the opening of the middle flower first, e.g., Ak (Calotropis procera), Hamelia patens, etc.

(iv) Cymose Capitulum:

This type of inflorescence is found in Acacia, Mimosa and Albizzia. In such cases the peduncle is reduced or condensed to a circular disc. It bears sessile or sub-sessile flowers on it. The oldest flowers develop in the centre and youngest towards the periphery of the disc, such arrangement is known as centrifugal. The flowers make a globose head, which is also called glomerule.

Inflorescence: Type # 3. Compound Inflorescence:

In this type of inflorescence the main axis (peduncle) branches repeatedly once or twice in racemose or cymose manner. In the former case it becomes a compound raceme and in the latter case it becomes a compound cymose inflorescence.

The main types of compound inflorescence are as follows:

1. Compound Raceme or Panicle:

In this case the raceme is branched, and the branches bear flowers in a racemose manner, e.g., Delonix regia, Azadirachta indica, Clematis buchaniana, Cassia fistula, etc.

Also known as umbel of umbels. Here the peduncle (main axis) is short and bears many branches which arise in an umbellate cluster. Each such branch bears a group of flowers in an umbellate manner. Usually a whorl of leafy bracts is found at the base of branches and also at the bases of flowers arranged in umbellate way.

The former whorl of bracts is called involucre and the latter involucel. Typical examples of compound umbel are—Daucus carota (carrot), Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), Coriandrum sativum (coriander), etc.

Also known as corymb of corymbs. Here the main axis (peduncle) branches in a corymbose manner and each branch bears flowers arranged in corymbs. Typical example-cauliflower.

Also known as spike of spikelets. The typical examples are found in Poaceae (Gramineae) family such as-wheat, barley, sorghum, oats, etc. This type has already been described under sub-head spikelets.

Also known as spadix of spadices. Here the main axis (peduncle) remains branched in a racemose manner and each branch bears sessile and unisexual flowers. The whole branched structure remains covered by a single spathe. The examples are common in Palmaceae (Palmae) family.

Also known as head of heads or capitulum of capitula. In this case many small heads form a large head. The typical example is globe thistle (Echinops). In this plant the heads are small and one-flowered and are arranged together forming a big compound head.

Inflorescence: Type # 4 . Cyathium:

This type of inflorescence is found in genus Euphorbia of family Euphorbiaceae also found in genus Pedilanthus of the family. In this inflorescence there is a cup-shaped involucre, often provided with nectar secreting glands. The involucre encloses a single female flower, represented by a pistil, in the centre, situated on a long stalk.

This female flower remains surrounded by a number of male flowers arranged centrifugally. Each male flower is reduced to a solitary stalked stamen. It is evident that each stamen is a single male flower from the facts that it is articulated to a stalk and that it possesses a scaly bract at the base. The examples can be seen in poinsettia (Euphorbia), Pedilanthus, etc.

Inflorescence: Type # 5 . Verticillaster:

This type of inflorescence is a condensed form of dichasial (biparous) cyme with a cluster of sessile or sub-sessile flowers in the axil of a leaf, forming a false whorl of flowers at the node. The first of main floral axis gives rise to two lateral branches and these branches and the succeeding branches bear only one branch each on alternate sides.

The type of inflorescence is characteristic of Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family. Typical examples, are—Ocimum, Coleus, Mentha, Leucas, etc.

Apples: A Class Act

Background Information: In winter the apple tree rests. On the branches are buds, some of which contain leaves and others that contain five flowers. With warmer spring weather, the leaf buds unfold and flower buds begin to grow on the ends of the twigs.

Honeybees are attracted to the apple flowers by nectar and the scent of the petals. As the bee collects nectar, it also picks up pollen. When the bee lands on a flower on another tree, it brushes against the pistil of the flower, leaving pollen grains on the sticky stigma. The pollen grains send tubes down through the styles to reach the ovary (pollination). Through the filament the sperm present in pollen can reach the ovules that are in the ovary. The fertilized ovules will become seeds.

The outer wall of the ovary develops into the fleshy white part of the apple. The inner wall of the ovary becomes the apple core around the seeds.

In summer, the apples grow bigger and gradually change color, and the tree produces new growth. In fall, the apples ripen. About two weeks before the harvest, the apples' food supply from the tree is cut off and the apples become sweeter. Most apples are harvested by hand, primarily in September and October.

The flowers have many parts that are crucial to the formation of apples:

  • Sepals - five green, leaf-like structures that make up a flower's calyx
  • Petals - the part of a flower that attracts insects by their color and scent
  • Stamens - the male reproductive part made up of an anther and filament
  • Anther - the part of the stamen that produces pollen
  • Filament - the stalk of the stamen
  • Pistil - female part of the flower, made up of a stigma, style, and an ovary
  • Stigma - the top of a flower's pistil
  • Style - the part of a pistil that connects the stigma and the ovary
  • Ovary - the rounded base of the pistil, inside of which are five compartments each containing two ovules, female reproductive cells that can become seeds


  1. Picture Books - Students can make picture books explaining the life cycle of an apple tree. They may enjoy creating the books for younger students.
  2. Illustrated Glossary - Students make an illustrated glossary in booklet form defining the key words for the apple tree's life cycle.
  3. Apple Tree Throughout the Seasons - Students paint or use colored chalk to show the changes the apple tree goes through each season.
  4. Drawing Diagrams - Students draw detailed diagrams of the parts of the flower of the apple tree.
  5. Dissecting Apple Blossoms - If apple trees grow nearby, clip some blossoms and let the students dissect them in order to find the flower parts.
  6. Helpful Bees - Ask for volunteers to research how commercial growers utilize bees in their orchards.

Art Activities

  1. Printing with Apples - Cut apples in half with different colors of tempera paint, make apple prints. Students can print with the apples on different colors of construction paper. They may want to design their own greeting cards using the apple print motif.
  2. Apple Dolls - Native Americans used apples to make applehead dolls. To make these shriveled-faced dolls, peel an apple and cut away the lower sides to form a chin. Carve a nose and a mouth and scoop out eyes. Carefully scoop out the core of the apple and sprinkle salt inside. Stuff it with cotton. Insert a pencil or stick into the bottom of the apple, and use beads or beans for the eyes. Sprinkle the apple with lemon juice and salt and let the applehead dry for at least two weeks. When dry, add yarn for hair and scraps of material for clothes.
  3. Apple Creatures - Although young students like this activity, older ones still enjoy it, too. Ask students to create apple creatures using apples, toothpicks, marshmallows, and raisins. They might also use construction paper to add feathers, curly tails, or other interesting characteristics.

Adapted from Apples: A Class Act published by the U.S. Apple Association. If you would like additional information, please contact: U.S. Apple Association, P.O. Box 1137, McLean, VA 22101-1137, (703) 442-8850

Other Topics in the Apples: A Class Act Curriculum:

Stem Borer

Those insects that are damaging the paddy plant from its seedling stage to crop production stage are known as insect pests of paddy. Insect pests are classified into two groups, such as major pests and minor pests. Of the various major pests, the stem borer insect is the most dangerous enemy to the paddy plant.

What is Stem Borer?

Stem borer (Scirpophaga) is a serious paddy pest in India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, China, Japan Formosa, Philippines and Indonesia. So, in all the rice growing areas this insect or Moth pest is available. This moth causes the highest percentage of damage of the paddy plant. The larva of this moth feeds only the internal tissue that the adult stage of this insect (moth) never causes any damage to the plant but only the larval stage. This pest is commonly known in English as stem borer because the larva bores into the stem.


In the life cycle of stem borer there are four stages, namely egg, larva, pupa and adult.
i) Oviposition and egg: After sunset, the male and female moths come together and after sexual union the eggs are fertilized internally, i.e., internal fertilization takes place. After three days of sexual union, the female moths lay eggs early at night on the upper surface near the tip of the growing leaves of paddy plant. Each female moth lays 400 - 600 eggs in 2 -3 egg clusters.


The larval stage is the damaging stage of the stem borer, because this is the feeding stage, as they feed the internal tissues of the stem of the paddy. The adult moths are not doing any harmful effect to the paddy plant.


Due to the utilization of the inner tissues of the stem of young paddy plant by the larvae of the stem borer, the central shoot of the paddy plant fades and dries up. The larvae then abandon the damaged plant and search for a new one. In older paddy plants, the larvae utilize the inner tissues of the stem and causes white, empty ear heads.

Control of Stem Borer

To control the stem borer the fallowing measure may be taken:

Mechanical control

Yellowish egg mass of the stem borer can be seen on the leaf of the paddy plant. These egg masses are to be collected from the field and destroyed them.

Destruction of stubbles

Larvae of Stem borer may remain inside the stubbles of the paddy plant. So after harvesting, the stubbles of the paddy plant should be uprooted and burnt. Thus the percentage of damage in the next crop may be reduced.

Light trapping

The stem borer moths are attracted to light during night. For this reason, the light traps are used extensively m the paddy field to attract and kill the pest.

Biological control

Biological control of stem borer generally refers to the use of predators or parasites of a past to reduce its numbers to a point where it is no longer an economical problem but it is yet to be discovered.

Chemical Control

The chemical control means the control of the stem borer by the use of some chemical insecticides. Before transplanting the seedlings of young paddy plants are to be immersed in 0.1% DDT solution may protect the plants from the attack of stem borer. After transplantation some insecticides like parathion, endrin may be used to protect from the attack of such insects.

Why Do Apple Slices Turn Brown?

Apples and other produce (e.g., pears, bananas, peaches) contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase or tyrosinase. When you slice open or bite into a piece of fruit, this enzyme reacts with oxygen in the air and iron-containing phenols that are also found in the fruit. This oxidation reaction causes a sort of rust to develop on the surface of the fruit. You will notice browning whenever a fruit is cut or bruised because these actions damage the cells in the fruit, allowing oxygen in the air to react with the enzyme and other chemicals inside.

The reaction can be slowed or prevented by inactivating the enzyme with heat (cooking), reducing the pH on the surface of the fruit (by adding lemon juice or another acid), reducing the amount of available oxygen (by putting cut fruit under water or vacuum packing it), or by adding certain preservative chemicals (like sulfur dioxide). On the other hand, using cutlery that has some corrosion (common with lower quality steel knives) can increase the rate and amount of the browning by making more iron salts available for the reaction.

Cut the apples into eight slices each. If needed, have an adult assist with this step!

Place 2-3 wedges in five separate bowls and cover the apples with each of the liquids: water, baking soda, lemon juice, milk, white vinegar.

Place three spoonfuls of baking soda in water to make a baking soda solution. Make your predictions-- what do you think will happen to each of the apple mixtures? One of these solutions will prevent the apples from oxidizing (or turning brown!). Which solution do you think it is and why? Let the apples sit, and check up on them the next day. Were your guesses correct?

What's going on? When apples are cut, an enzyme (polyphenol oxidase), that reacts with oxygen, is released-- causing the apple to turn brown. Lemon juice is full of ascorbic acid, which will react with oxygen before the enzymes in the apple. Lemon juice also is very acidic, about 2.0 pH, and the enzyme in the apple oxidizes in environments between 5.0-7.0 pH. Can you find other acidic ingredients that could prevent apples from browning?

What's in season in June 2021, and other timely information:

Notes for June 2021: Spring is here and that means Strawberry season is upon us! It started in Florida, Texas, southern California then March along the Gulf coast, April in the Deep South and west coast, late May through much of the country, and June in northern areas. Cherries and Blueberries are next, following about a month later in each area. Of course, cool weather crops, like Rhubarb, asparagus and greens should be available almost everywhere right now. Check your area's copy calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for seasonal updates.

We also have easy home canning, jam and jelly making, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me! It is easy to make your own ice cream, even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream - see this page. Also note, there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. They have all copied their information from here and usually do not ever update. Since 2002, I've been updating the information every day but Christmas so if you see anything wrong or outdated, please write me!

Exploring the origins of the apple

Recent archaeological finds of ancient preserved apple seeds across Europe and West Asia combined with historical, paleontological, and recently published genetic data are presenting a fascinating new narrative for one of our most familiar fruits. In this study, Robert Spengler of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History traces the history of the apple from its wild origins, noting that it was originally spread by ancient megafauna and later as a process of trade along the Silk Road. These processes allowed for the development of the varieties that we know today.

The apple is, arguably, the most familiar fruit in the world. It is grown in temperate environments around the globe and its history is deeply intertwined with humanity. Depictions of large red fruits in Classical art demonstrate that domesticated apples were present in southern Europe over two millennia ago, and ancient seeds from archaeological sites attest to the fact that people have been collecting wild apples across Europe and West Asia for more than ten thousand years. While it is clear that people have closely maintained wild apple populations for millennia, the process of domestication, or evolutionary change under human cultivation, in these trees is not clear.

Several recent genetic studies have demonstrated that the modern apple is a hybrid of at least four wild apple populations, and researchers have hypothesized that the Silk Road trade routes were responsible for bringing these fruits together and causing their hybridization. Archaeological remains of apples in the form of preserved seeds have been recovered from sites across Eurasia, and these discoveries support the idea that fruit and nut trees were among the commodities that moved on these early trade routes. Spengler recently summarized the archaeobotanical and historical evidence for cultivated crops on the Silk Road in a book titled Fruit from the Sands, published with the University of California Press. The apple holds a deep connection with the Silk Road -- much of the genetic material for the modern apple originated at the heart of the ancient trade routes in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kazakhstan. Furthermore, the process of exchange caused the hybridization events that gave rise to the large red sweet fruits in our produce markets.

Understanding how and when apple trees evolved to produce larger fruits is an important question for researchers, because fruit trees do not appear to have followed the same path towards domestication as other, better-understood crops, such as cereals or legumes. Many different wild and anthropogenic forces apply selective pressure on the crops in our fields, it is not always easy to reconstruct what pressures caused which evolutionary changes. Therefore, looking at evolutionary processing in modern and fossil plants can help scholars interpret the process of domestication. Fleshy sweet fruits evolve to attract animals to eat then and spread their seeds large fruits specifically evolve to attract large animals to disperse them.

Large fruits evolved to attract ancient megafauna

While most scholars studying domestication focus on the period when humans first start cultivating a plant, in this study Spengler explores the processes in the wild that set the stage for domestication. Spengler suggests that understanding the process of evolution of large fruits in the wild will help us understand the process of their domestication. "Seeing that fruits are evolutionary adaptations for seed dispersal, the key to understanding fruit evolution rests in understanding what animals were eating the fruits in the past," he explains.

Many fruiting plants in the apple family (Rosaceae) have small fruits, such as cherries, raspberries, and roses. These small fruits are easily swallowed by birds, which then disperse their seeds. However, certain trees in the family, such as apples, pears, quince, and peaches, evolved in the wild to be too large for a bird to disperse their seeds. Fossil and genetic evidence demonstrate that these large fruits evolved several million years before humans started cultivating them. So who did these large fruits evolve to attract?

The evidence suggests that large fruits are an evolutionary adaptation to attract large animals that can eat the fruits and spread the seeds. Certain large mammals, such as bears and domesticated horses, eat apples and spread the seeds today. However, prior to the end of the last Ice Age, there were many more large mammals on the European landscape, such as wild horses and large deer. Evidence suggests that seed dispersal in the large-fruiting wild relatives of the apple has been weak during the past ten thousand years, since many of these animals went extinct. The fact that wild apple populations appear to map over glacial refugial zones of the Ice Age further suggests that these plants have not been moving over long distances or colonizing new areas in the absence of their original seed-spreaders.

Trade along the Silk Road likely enabled the development of the apple we know today

Wild apple tree populations were isolated after the end of the last Ice Age, until humans started moving the fruits across Eurasia, in particular along the Silk Road. Once humans brought these tree lineages back into contact with each other again, bees and other pollinators did the rest of the work. The resulting hybrid offspring had larger fruits, a common result of hybridization. Humans noticed the larger fruiting trees and fixed this trait in place through grafting and by planting cuttings of the most favored trees. Thus, the apples we know today were primarily not developed through a long process of the selection and propagation of seeds from the most favored trees, but rather through hybridization and grafting. This process may have been relatively rapid and parts of it were likely unintentional. The fact that apple trees are hybrids and not "properly" domesticated is why we often end up with a crabapple tree when we plant an apple seed.

This study challenges the definition of "domestication"' and demonstrates that there is no one-shoe-fits-all model to explain plant evolution under human cultivation. For some plants, domestication took millennia of cultivation and human-induced selective pressure -- for other plants, hybridization caused rapid morphological change. "The domestication process is not the same for all plants, and we still do not know much about the process in long-generation trees," notes Spengler. "It is important that we look past annual grasses, such as wheat and rice, when we study plant domestication. There are hundreds of other domesticated plants on the planet, many of which took different pathways toward domestication." Ultimately, the apple in your kitchen appears to owe its existence to extinct megafaunal browsers and Silk Road merchants.




The only permanent solution is to destroy the tree. The bacteria will remain in the soil for two three more years.

Apple tree stem affected by Galls


Apple tree stem affected by Woolly Aphid

MSU Extension Apples

Pollination is a crucial part of growing quality apples. Apples require cross-pollination -- bees moving pollen from a pollen-donating tree to the receiving tree. Pollen-donating trees must be a compatible cultivar that has been intercropped (e.g., planted in alternate rows) or crabapple trees that have been interspersed within the apple orchard for this purpose.

Typically, honey bees visit flowers in the morning. Orchard management practices such as pesticide applications or mowing that disrupt their morning activity may significantly impact the success of pollination. Apples that do not receive adequate pollination can become malformed as they develop, or will result in early fruit drop. Apple ovaries are typically divided into five chambers, each containing two ovules available for pollination. A fully pollinated apple will contain 10 seeds however, a minimum of 6 to 7 seeds per apple will succeed in good fruit development.

The average blossoming period for apples when pollination can take place is about 9 days. Cool weather during bloom will extend this period, whereas warmer weather will shorten it.


Honey bees (Apis mellifera), although not native to North America, are the most important and most commonly used managed pollinator of apples (read more on honey bee biology). To find a commercial beekeeper to hire for pollination services, contact the District Representative of the Michigan Beekeeping Association nearest you.

Other less commonly used managed bees for apple pollination are bumble bees and mason bees. Colonies of bumble bees can be purchased from commercial rearing facilities and must be ordered months in advance of when they are needed (read more on bumble bee biology).

Mason bees are solitary bees that will nest in large aggregations in nesting materials built out of cardboard or paper straws, cut pieces of bamboo, or blocks of wood with pre-drilled holes of a particular diameter. There are typically limited supplies of commercially reared populations of both native and non-native mason bees used for orchard pollination. The most common native species managed for orchard pollination is called the Blue Orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria), and the most common non-native species is called the Horn-faced bee (Osmia cornifrons).

Growers can gradually build up their own native populations of mason bees by putting out nesting materials each season and following standard recommendations for keeping the bees cool for overwintering and then bringing them out of cold storage in time to be active for apple bloom.

For more information about mason bees and how to manage them, download the fact sheet, &ldquoTunnel Nests for Native Bees,&rdquo from the Xerces Society. Or, you can purchase their excellent guide, "Managing Alternative Pollinators: Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers, and Conservationists".

Aside from managed bees, wild bumble bees and a variety of solitary soil- or stem-nesting bees can be found visiting and pollinating apples blossoms. Many of these bees nest directly in orchards or in adjacent habitat and are usually limited by the amount of non-crop flowering habitat that is adjacent to the orchard and the pest management practices used in nearby orchards. To build up populations of wild bees, growers are encouraged to provide non-crop flowering plants in adjacent habitats to the orchard &ndash preferably in areas that will not receive pesticide applications or major drift from pesticides used in the orchard.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service has several conservation reserve programs that can help offset the cost of planting pollinator habitat and offer guidance about what to plant. There are also two Michigan State University Extension bulletins free as a PDF download or for purchase through the bulletin office for a print version: "Attracting Beneficial Insects with Native Flowering Plants" (E2973) and "Conserving Native Bees on Farmland" (E2985).

Pollinators & pesticide use

Pesticides, and in particular insecticides, can be harmful to pollinators. Most pesticide labels advise against their use during crop bloom for this reason. If an insecticide must be used during bloom, be sure to follow label directions and apply the pesticide when bees are least active, and so that the pesticide will dry before bees come into contact with flowers that have been exposed to it. For example, an application made at dusk or during the night will do the least harm to pollinators who visit flowers during the day. After the crop has finished blooming, be aware that pesticide drift onto non-crop flowering plants in adjacent habitat can harm pollinators on those flowers.

Read the following Michigan State University Extension article on "Minimizing pesticide exposure to bees in fruit crops."


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