*NOTE, January 1, 2023: PI 657118 is now known to be a hybrid of Malus sieversii and Malus domestica, NOT pure Malus sieversii.
We do. That’s all of them, right there. PI 657118, obtained from USDA and grafted in 2016 on highly-dwarfing Budogovsky 9 rootstock, produced four apples this year, still living in a 3-gallon pot. Granted, it’s not much seed, but it’s the first from the trees we grafted ourselves (we’ve had a bit of seed already from a purchased Malus sieversii tree). It’s a start.
PI 657118 is from Kazakhstan, close to the Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan borders. The pollen parent for our small seed harvest is not known.
I was surprised we had any fruit at all this year, given the April plunge that pretty much ruined the local crop. We are poised to produce more seed than this; the trees at the orchard, which will be in their sixth growing season in 2021, should have a crop the next year we have favorable weather.
This post is mostly just a “Wheee! We did it!” item. Growing wild apples is a way to protect genetic diversity that may be especially important for breeding new apple cultivars in a time of climate change. It’s also fun.
If you happen to be interested in Malus sieversii, we do have a few seeds to share, but there are still better options at this point. Contact the people in charge of the national apple collection at Geneva, NY. Last time I checked they’d still send 100 seeds (25 from each of 4 mother trees) to any interested person, free. Instructions for germination and care are included. Google around to find them, or feel free to email, and I’ll send you the contact info.