Are we sure it is Malus domestica?

Requests about identification of wild plants in Malta and Gozo. (Please include precise details and pictures to help the experts in their ID process)

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Are we sure it is Malus domestica?

Post by MWP admin » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:54 pm

Every now and then I encounter apple trees naturalised in damp and sheltered places. While I was at Nadur, I stopped to examine a specimen from a group of 7 trees or so aside a water course.

Flora Europaea keys M. domestica from their pomes being larger than 5cm, but the trees I examined had them 3cm. Leaves were tomentose on the lower side, glabrous or sparse hair on the upper side, hence eliminating M. sylvestris (which has completely galbrous leaves).

I lack a good key of Malus and also I have no expertise on this alien genus. I wonder if someone might help on the identity of these naturalised apples. They might be a different species from M.domestica but used a rootstock for graftic Malus domestica and slowly are reverting to the original species - just a mere speculation - but my point is that the fruit look different from the normal apple fruit we eat.
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Post by IL-PINE » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:36 pm

still think its a variety of the common apple.
malus domestica/pumila.

but will search a bit more

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Post by MWP admin » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:29 pm

I did some research and Malus pumila is the best guess. All Malus trees I've checked in Malta had hairy leaves so I wonder if we really have M. sylvestris. Its records might be a mis-identification of the past.

Interestingly, fruit of these apple trees with small fruit and pedicels are quite hairy with tomentose, white hair at the lower side of the leaves, pedicels, tepals, and even to some extent the rind (exocarp) of the fruit.

There seems to be a bit of taxonomic confusion, where Malus domestica Borkh. is questioned to be an illegitimate name and so M. pumila would be the accepted name. Until further research, I am labeling these particular trees as <i>Malus pumila </i>.
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Post by IL-PINE » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:42 am

well many floras do not list malus domestica but malus pumila. then i found it was a synonym.

probably it is one of the many forms of it :)

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Post by jackpot » Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:59 pm

I still accept M. domestica, and this one is certainly one of the 20.000 childs of their parents M. sieversii and M. sylvestris :D

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Post by MWP admin » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:28 pm

Welcome back boss!!! We and the forum still survives Thanks for your input.
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