Apple, the name of an edible fruit and the tree that bears it. The apple tree belongs to the rose family and is related to plum, peach, and pear trees. Apples are the most widely grown fruit of the temperate zones. Native to central Asia, the apple tree has been cultivated in the Old World for at least 4,000 years. Apples were brought to the North American colonies by the early settlers, and by the mid-18th century many orchards had been established.

ApplesApples are native to Central Asia.

Apple trees have bushy, rounded crowns and sturdy, sometimes gnarled trunks and branches. Some trees reach 50 feet (15 m) in height, but 25 to 30 feet (8 to 9 m) is more common. Smaller trees, produced by grafting standard trees onto dwarf rootstocks, are becoming increasingly common because they are easier to care for and make picking easier.

The pink or white flowers and the leaves are borne together at the end of a short twig. The wood is hard and strong with a uniform, close grain. It is often used for making knobs, tool handles, pipes, rulers, and canes. The fruit is fleshy with a tough skin, and ranges in color from greenish-yellow to red. Apples are usually two to three inches (5 to 7.5 cm) in diameter and have pinkish-white or yellowish-white flesh.