The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. The tree is small and deciduous, reaching 5â?"12 m tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5â?"12 cm long and 3â?"6 cm broad on a 2â?"5 cm petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. Flowers are produced in spring simultaneous with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, 2.5â?"3.5 cm in diameter. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5â?"9 cm diameter. The centre of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds. The tree originated from Asia, where its wild ancestor is still found today. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples resulting in range of desired characteristics. It should be noted however, that cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.
At least 55 million tonnes of apples were grown worldwide in 2005, with a value of about $10 billion. China produced about two-fifths of this total. The United States is the second leading producer, with more than 7.5% of the world production. Turkey, France, Italy and Iran are among the leading apple exporters.
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