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The Story of the Apple

Barrie E. Juniper and David J. Mabberley

The Story of the Apple reveals the solution to a long-standing puzzle: where did the apple come from, and why is the familiar large, sweet, cultivated apple so different from all the other wild apple species with their bitter, cherry-sized fruits? It was long assumed that the apple of our gardens and supermarkets is the result of a complex history of hybridization and selection. But the true story turns out to be even more interesting, involving earthquakes in the mountainous Tian Shan and the spreading of deserts in Inner and Central Asia, the eating habits of bears and horses (and perhaps dung beetles), the Silk Roads and other ancient trading routes, the discovery of the horticultural technique of grafting, and the multiple virtues of cider.

Years of investigation in the field, laboratory, and archives were stimulated by discussions between Barrie juniper and his students - including David Mabberley - and Russian colleagues. The fruits of these studies are gathered here. The Story of the Apple will fascinate gardeners who wish to know more about the origin and natural history of the plants they grow in their yards or orchards; researchers and students in botany and horticulture who want the evidence from DNA, geology; anthropology; archaeology; zoology; and Classical history; and anyone with an interest in diet, well-being, and the benevolent effects of plants on the emergence of humankind.

The Story of the Apple

Hardcover, 240pp, 36 colour illustrations, 22 b/w illustrations, 9 maps
ISBN-13: 978-0-88192-784-9
ISBN: 0-88192-784-8

Barry Juniper Barrie E. Juniper, University of Oxford, is a pioneer in the study of plant surfaces, including the specialized ones of insect-catching carnivorous plants. His research interests also include the interaction between people, their animals, and the evolution of crop plants.

David J. Mabberley is the Soest Professor of Horticultural Science and Director of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, and visiting professor at the University of Leiden. He, too, is interested in the relationships of plants and humans and has published extensively on botanical history and art, tropical ecology, and is the author of The Plant-Book, a Portable Dictionary of the Higher Plants.

Awards for David Mabberley

  • Linnean Society Gold Medal

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