Blossoms of all kinds are blooming in many places as the warmer weather arrives. Apple and cherry blossoms are some of the most quintessentially spring time flowers.
common name: apple blossom
scientific name: Malus domestica
Did you know that apple trees are part of the rose family? You can see the similarities if you look closely at the structure of the woody branches as well as the tightly-clustered buds and five-petaled blooms. There are over 7,500 varieties of apples grown in the world today, making just as many types of apple blossoms. The crabapple (Malus coronaria) is native to North America, and both Arkansas and Michigan have adopted its blossom as the state flower. The flowers on these trees are not only beautiful and fragrant, but they also set the stage for the fruit. The buds form in clusters with the center flower, the “king blossom,” blooming first and producing the largest fruit.
If you’re interested in knowing more about how the barely edible crabapple evolved into the delicious varieties we consume today, I highly recommend reading Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire–and yes, it does involve Johnny Appleseed!