Spring is here, and the apple blossom is out. An excellent time of year to go out sketching if the weather is agreeable. Apple blossoms are a symbol of love, fertility and long life. The ancient celts would decorate their bedrooms in apple blossom this time of year to encourage romance. Apple blossom also represents life continuing after death, as the tree returns to life after the winter months.
The apple is an ancient fruit originating from Asia, perhaps the first ever cultivated. According to Pliny, the Roman natural philosopher, there were 22 varieties of apple worldwide. It was in the 18th century that hybrids appeared in Britain from Europe. Different species were grafted onto wild trees to produce greater fruit yielding trees, they are known as Malus domestica. Now there are thought to be 2000 species of apple tree world wide. The uncultivated apple, the crab apple, has short thorns on its branches. It grows across Europe and western Asia and prefers lowlands and the edges of woodland. A deciduous tree it grows up to 10metre with a dense crown on top. It flowers from April to May with clusters of white/pinkish blossoms. These attract a large amount of bees during the day with its scented nectar, and insects during the night. The fruit appears from September to October. Crab apples are sour and dry to the taste. The seeds of orchard apple trees often revert to ancestral type if sown in the wild.