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Fruit of the genus Malus, in the rose family, the most widely cultivated tree fruit. Malus species are native to the temperate zones of both hemispheres. They require a considerable period of dormancy, well-drained soil, careful pruning in early years of growth, and a rigorous pest-management program for mature trees. The apple is one of the pome (fleshy) fruits. Apples at harvest vary widely in size, shape, colour, and acidity, but most are fairly round and some shade of red or yellow. The thousands of varieties fall into three broad classes: cider, cooking, and dessert varieties. Varieties that ripen in late summer generally do not store well, but those that ripen in late autumn may be stored for as long as a year. The largest producers of apples are the U.S., China, France, Italy, and Turkey. Eaten fresh or cooked in various ways, apples provide vitamins A and C, carbohydrates, and fibre.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on apple, visit Britannica.com.