By Katrina ffiske
Word reached the nature loving journalists at New Valley News that a new apple had been uncovered.
Archie Thomas from Plant-life, (Europe’s largest charity dedicated to the conservation of wild plants, based in Salisbury) spoke to me about his exciting discovery, in south-west Wiltshire.
“I found the apple while out running,” Archie said. “A solitary apple had windfallen on to the path. Although no fruit expert, I am inquisitive about things I don’t recognise in the natural world.”
Archie must have a keen eye for detail: what exactly made this apple stand out?
“A variety of things: the strange mottling on the peel: a pale colour reminiscent of a quince. I liken the colour to that of a pale cowslip. Also, it was the variation in size of the apples that struck me as unusual. Some are as large a grapefruit, others the size of a kiwi.”
To cultivate apples, the top of an apple tree is grafted onto rootstock. Archie said the tree he discovered “would not have been deliberately planted by humans. I am lucky to be working at Plantlife, who were able to give me good advice on where to go to find out about the apple. It was eventually experts at the Royal Horticultural Society who inspected the apples and adjudged that the tree is probably over 100 years old and is a cross between a cultivated apple and a wild Malus Sylvestris, a European crab apple.”
What does the apple taste like?
“It is considered by experts to be an eater or cooker. The taste is good. It has a crisp crunch and a sharp taste. The taste reminds me of the Wiltshire countryside; chalk grassland and ice-cold chalk streams.
As the discoverer, Archie will be able to name the apple he found. I wondered if he had a name in mind?
“Not yet and I’m in no rush. I want to make sure I’m happy with the name I choose to ensure it has relevance and longevity,” he confided.
(Photo: Hannah Thomas)