Sunday, May 14, 2006

Nature’s own Floral Displays or perhaps an Introduced Pioneer Apple Tree


This is a picture of one of a dozen or so apple trees that seem to be haphazardly planted around this woodlot. Most of them bear a small tart apple. Yet one apple tree near the middle of the woodlot bore a yellow-green apple with a rusty hue and rough texture, which I believe is identified as the russet. It produced apples in abundance one year but very few before or since. I tasted one that was probably not ripe yet as it was still sour. I figured that the pioneers probably thought it was great for pies or preserves or something. The russet I am told is a true pioneer apple and I mean pioneer in the sense that the early settlers introduced it. The adjective “pioneer” should not be confused with pioneer trees such as poplars and birches which tend to be the first to take root in clearings and prepare the soil for subsequent higher quality trees like oaks and maples.

I was not even aware of this little apple tree in the photo, until I had cleared out the Manitoba Maples [Acer negundo L.] a.k.a. box-elder (particularly in the US), or Ashleaf maple, that choked out the surrounding area. The tree was completely taken over and dominated by Manitoba Maples. These Maples are locally ranked in the “Soft Maple” category since the wood is indeed not very sound, but they grow profusely. This year the apple tree has come out in full bloom as the photo depicts. It is a lovely celebration of its release.

Another beautiful flowering tree is the Hawthorne, which are abundant in this woodlot along the edges of clearings. Their time to flower has yet to come. Stay tuned.

3 comments:

EmailHosting.com said...

I'm liking the Hawthorne tree.

Anonymous said...

Pieter -

You may have an heirloom apple, which is why it may be worth investigating whether you have such a society who could examine your trees or apples or show you how to do it. Heirlooms are pretty rare, as most of the apples we see today are genetically miuch different than what the pioneers ate. Just a thought. Pete

mfaizalzul said...

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