|Wednesday What's New: Apples That Taste Like…Roses?|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Wednesday, 14 March 2012|
Apples that taste like roses, anise, or berries or that contain as much Vitamin C as oranges? I’m not sure that’s my idea of an apple, but it may be an option in the future if plant geneticists have anything to do with it. And, according to an article in Science News, these apples already exist at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, NY.
It’s easy to experiment with apples because although the trees and fruits are the same, each seed in the apple is unique and will never produce a tree that is exactly the same as the parent. This can only occur by grafting onto rootstock. According to fruit geneticist Susan Brown at Cornell, the reason that new varieties of apples and other fruits are created is to increase diversity. That’s why we now have Empire, Macoun, Courtland, and Jonagold, as opposed to just Macintosh and Delicious that were just about the only varieties available years ago.
Brown and the rest of the team also grow columnar, weeping, and shrub apple trees where all of the branches are exactly the same length—the latter is to reduce the amount of pruning needed. Sounds a bit sci-fi doesn’t it? Nonetheless, this is what often goes on behind the scenes in the fruit and vegetable world.