Recent high-resolution genomic analysis by USDA shows that some of the apples previously thought to be Malus sieversii are hybrid (or in a few cases just plain domestic apples). As a result, we’re updating our own information. If you have a grafted apple from us, you can determine its idenity with the table below.
The upshot is that we don’t have as many pure wild trees as we had thought. However, most of those that aren’t wild are hybrids, and still have some wild apple genes unlikely to be found in North American domestic apples. We’re keeping them for that reason.
Do you know of any old (difficult or impossible to put your arms around the base of the trunk) apple trees in your neighborhood in Colorado? If you do, please get in touch with us! If you have already done so, thanks!
I thought it would be nice to have a list of projects working to protect apple biodiversity in North America (or elsewhere, if any readers can add information in the comments). Here’s a start:
Widespread Malus … that’s us! Working to build a highly diverse collection of Malus sieversii, as well as distribute scions, grafted trees, and seedlings.
Apple Diversity Group … a collaboration between Dalhousie University and Agriculture Canada, this group’s Apple Biodiversity Collection in Nova Scotia has 1000+ different apples, including about a hundred Malus sieversii.
USDA Plant Genetic Resources Unit … located in Geneva, NY, USDA PGRU maintains one of the world’s most extensive apple collections, including diverse wild apples (M. sieversii, M. orientalis, and others). Interested members of the public may request open-pollinated M. sieversii seed from PGRU.
Temperate Orchard Conservancy … located in Oregon, TOC is replicating the Botner Collection (perhaps the largest private collection of apples in the world … 4,500 different apples).
North American Fruit Explorers … a group of folks interested in all kinds of fruit. There are quite a few members with their own diverse collections of apples and other fruit. Visit the web site or the facebook page.
Seed Savers Exchange … not just for seeds! Iowa-based SSE has quite a nice collection of apples (hundreds), and numerous members who share apple scions with other members.
Agrarian Sharing Network … is sharing diverse fruit and vegetable material in the Pacific Northwest. ASN has done extensive evaluations and cloning of the Botner collection and several other large bioregional collections, and is involved in a number of propagation fairs.
Can you help us add more projects to this list? Please send us an email!