apple tree, wild apple tree, wild apple tree; the Rose family (Rosaceae); forest apple tree
Our state has long been famous for excellent varieties of apples. Back in the 17th century, foreigners traveling through its territory noted that the apples here are extremely tasty, beautiful and transparent. Unfortunately, many of those varieties have now been lost: orchards were cut down, some apple trees did not survive harsh winters. We should also not forget that waves of foreign invaders swept through our lands more than once – they didn’t care about burning in the ovens, and the gardens were next to the houses. By the way, apple wood has the highest heat output.
Restoration of old and breeding of new varieties is painstaking and multi-year work. Breeders are gradually returning the domestic apple to its former glory, but for now we eat imported varieties with a hard skin and an unusual taste.
The source material for all forms and varieties of cultivated apple trees was a forest or wild apple tree, which will be discussed in the essay. So, what does the ancestor of cultural varieties look like and what is useful?
This is a low (up to 10 m) tree. Branches departing from the trunk are spreading, bare (young ones are somewhat hairy), smooth or rough, dark brown or gray. The trunk is covered with brownish-gray bark that peels off. The leaves are alternate, petiolate, broadly ovate or oblong, rarely broadly elliptic or rounded, narrowed into a tooth at the apex. The edges of the leaves are fine-serrated, sometimes double-serrated. The flowers are regular, bisexual, white or pink, large, up to 4 cm in diameter. Located at the ends of shortened shoots, they form few-flowered umbrella-like inflorescences. The apple tree blooms in May — early June. The fruit is an apple, round or ovoid, bitter-sour, astringent in taste, ripens in September. The forest apple tree is found scattered in deciduous and mixed forests, thickets, plantations, on the slopes of ravines and river banks, more often in the southern regions of Russia, as well as in the Caucasus, Transcaucasia and Ukraine (throughout the territory). Birds and mammals, particularly rodents, play an important role in the spread of apple seeds in the forest.
As a food product, wild apples are edible only after processing: they are dried and added to compotes, sour filling for pies, jams and jams, apple kvass.
Medicinal use of apples is much wider. For this, ripe fruits are collected. Collected apples are stored at a temperature close to zero. Under these conditions, their storage period is up to 5 months. Tree leaves are also harvested. This is usually done at the beginning of June, after their full bloom. The leaves are used fresh.
Apple fruits contain carbohydrates, phytoglycogen, pectin substances (up to 1.66%), organic acids (up to 1.9%), carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (up to 64.2 mg%), B vitamins, vitamin PP , tannins, catechins (20-25%), flavonoids, anthocyanins (coloring substances), essential oil, organic compounds of iron and phosphorus. The leaves are rich in flavonoids, vitamins, in particular ascorbic acid, which is much more in them than in the fruit (up to 400 mg%).
An extract of apple iron is prepared from the fruits of the forest apple tree – a means for the treatment of anemia. Tea with pieces of forest apple fruits is drunk for urolithiasis, rheumatism, gout, as well as hoarseness, cough, stomach catarrh, colitis. Baked apples are useful for chronic constipation. In fresh form, they are recommended for hypoacid gastritis, spastic colitis, biliary tract dyskinesia, and vitamin deficiency. Congested areas, sores and frostbite are treated with a paste made of freshly grated apples, which is applied to the affected areas. This tool also helps with cracked nipples in nursing mothers. Dermatologists and cosmetologists use apple applications and masks for various dermatological diseases and skin defects.
A decoction of fresh leaves is an excellent vitamin remedy, a source of vitamin C. Sometimes a decoction with sugar (syrup) is prepared for the winter.
The honey productivity of a forest apple tree is low — only up to 20 kg from 1 hectare of plantations, but apple honey has an extremely delicate taste and aroma, it is pale yellow, and it crystallizes quickly.
The wood of the apple tree is dense, quite heavy, suitable for the manufacture of various products and wear-resistant wooden parts.
Fruit tea. Boil 20 chopped apples for 20 minutes. in 1 liter of water. Sugar is added to taste.
Decoction of leaves. The leaves are poured with boiling water in a ratio of 1:4, boiled for 10-15 minutes, cooled a little and filtered. Take 1 dessert spoon 2-3 times a day.