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In my hometown (Eastwood NSW, Australia) we annually celebrate the Granny Smith Apple, which is assumed by many to be the first green apple widely propagated.

How true is it that it was the first green-skinned apple to be widely propagated throughout the world? In our local stores it is usually the only green variety available.

From wikipedia:

Widely propagated in New Zealand, it was introduced to the United Kingdom c. 1935 and the United States in 1972 by Grady Auvil.

Example claim:

Miss Spurway was the great grand-daughter of Maria Ann ``Granny’’ Smith, the woman who inadvertently grew the first green apple

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This appears to be more of a food sciences question or the history of a certain type of apple. By and by this is not an academic history question, which is why I have VTC'd this question. –  GPierce Oct 12 '11 at 0:04
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@GPierce - Food sciences, are you serious? –  xiaohouzi79 Oct 12 '11 at 0:11
    
@GPierce - I have started a discussion in meta so you can provide guidelines as to what an 'academic' history question is. –  xiaohouzi79 Oct 12 '11 at 0:17
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Here's one vote to reopen. Apples normally turn red when they're ripe - at some point, humans created or found a variety that stayed green and started propagating it. That's an historical event, and asking when it happened strikes me as a perfectly good question for this site. I suppose 'widely propagated' is kind of vague - maybe Xiao could specify the country or countries that interest him. –  Rose Ames Mar 28 '12 at 0:02
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Another vote to re-open. The origin of crops is a =big deal= in history and archaeology. It may not be as sexy as "where did wheat production originate", but it's still a valid topic. –  RI Swamp Yankee Jul 26 '12 at 14:01

1 Answer 1

For a moment let's ignore the meaning of "widely propagated".

Apple trees were the first trees to be cultivated. Their genetic diversity is incredible, with for example 2000 varieties allegedly found in Italy only. Other sources report that there are 7000 known apple varieties in the world.

I do not report the sources as I have serious doubts about methods and accuracy, including e.g. the difficulty to catalogue local varieties with limited diffusion. As an example of what I do mean, in my hometown we grow an apple tree which gives pale yellow fruits, with (apparently) random portions having white skin and transparent pulp. Despite such distinctive characteristics and extended efforts on my behalf, I can't find this apple in any study/catalogue.

If then one considers that many apple varieties went extinct, especially since the 19th century with the systematic introduction of market oriented cultivars, an exhaustive answer to your question becomes impossible.

If I were less skeptic about the possibility to establish the first green apple, I would say that the Bramley originated at the beginning of the XIX century, and it comes in both green/red and green only. The White Transparent is definitely green, and originated in (allegedly) 1850. Both these varieties are pretty much common, although I must admit less common than the Granny Smith. The Granny Smith seems however, according to my research, the first green, dessert apple: all the other greenies I've found are cooking varieties.

That said:

  1. I am skeptic about the possibility to establish the identity of the first green apple
  2. Long live the Granny Smith Apple
  3. The "moment" of which in the incipit is still going...
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