Malus domestica

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.

Edible Uses: Oil; Pectin.

Fruit is used raw, cooked or dried for later use. When drying dip in lemon juice to stop browning. Apples are one of the most common and widely grown fruits of the temperate zone. There are a great many named varieties with differing flavours ranging from sour to sweet and textures from dry and mealy to crisp and juicy. There is also a wide range in the seasons of ripening with the first fruits being ready in late July whilst other cultivars are not picked until late autumn and will store for 12 months or sometimes more. The fruit of some cultivars is rich in pectin and can be used in helping other fruits to set when making jam etc. Pectin is also said to protect the body against radiation. An edible oil can be obtained from the seed. It would only really be viable to use these seeds as an oil source if the fruit was being used for some purpose such as making cider and then the seeds could be extracted from the remaining pulp.

Medicinal Uses

Antibacterial; Astringent; Laxative; Odontalgic; Stomachic.

The fruit is astringent and laxative. The bark, and especially the root bark, is anthelmintic, refrigerant and soporific. An infusion is used in the treatment of intermittent, remittent and bilious fevers. The leaves contain up to 2.4% of an antibacterial substance called 'phloretin'. This inhibits the growth of a number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in as low a concentration as 30 ppm. A ripe raw apple is one of the easiest foods for the stomach to deal with, the whole process of digestion taking about 85 minutes. The apple juice will reduce the acidity of the stomach, it becomes changed into alkaline carbonates and thus corrects sour fermentation. The apple is also an excellent dentifrice, the mechanical action of eating a fruit serving to clean both the teeth and the gums.

Other Uses

Lighting; Oil; Teeth; Wood.

The fruit is a source of pectin. Pectin is used as a thickener in jams etc and as a culture medium in laboratories. The apple is also an excellent dentifrice, the mechanical action of eating a fruit serving to clean both the teeth and the gums. The oil from the seed has been used as an illuminant. Wood - hard, compact, fine-grained. Used for turnery, tool handles, canes etc. It makes an excellent fuel.

Cultivation details

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most fertile soils, preferring a moisture retentive well-drained loamy soil. Prefers a sunny position. The primary climatic requirements for the production of good quality fruit are warm summer temperatures, relative freedom from spring frosts, reasonable protection from the wind (especially cold north and east winds) and an evenly distributed rainfall of about 600 - 800mm per annum.

When chives (Allium schoenoprasum) or other alliums are grown under apple trees it can prevent or cure scab. A spray of the infused leaves of Equisetum spp can also be used against scab. If climbing nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are grown into the tree they can repel woolly aphids. Apples lose their flavour if they are stored with potatoes. They will also impart a bitter flavour to carrots or potatoes if they are stored in the same area. Growing apples near potatoes makes the potatoes more susceptible to blight. Wrapping maple leaves (Acer spp) around apples in store helps to preserve the apples. Apples store better if they are grown in a sward that contains a high percentage of clover. Apple trees grow better and produce better quality fruit when foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) and wallflowers (Erysimum cheiri) are growing in the orchard. Dandelions (Taraxacum spp) produce ethylene gas and this can cause earlier ripening of fruit if plants are growing in an orchard.


Seed - this species is a hybrid and will not breed true from seed, though some interesting new fruiting cultivars can be produced. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It usually germinates in late winter. Stored seed requires stratification for 3 months at 1°c and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as it is received. It might not germinate for 12 months or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. If given a rich compost they usually grow away quickly and can be large enough to plant out in late summer, though consider giving them some protection from the cold in their first winter. Otherwise, keep them in pots in a cold frame and plant them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of mature wood, early summer in a frame.