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Malus sylvestris
Wild apple

The wild apple (Malus sylvestris) is a small deciduous tree often appearing more as a bush. It is native to most countries in Europe and occurs in scattered distribution patterns as single individuals or in small groups.

The tree is extremely light-demanding and has weak competitive abilities. Owing to this, the wild apple is quite rare and exists mostly at the edge of forests, in farmland hedges or on very extreme, marginal sites. The timber is of low economic value, but the tree is widely used as an ornamental. Malus sylvestris is a wild relative of, and potential gene donor to, the apple species grown for fruit production, Malus domestica.

The tree’s preferred niches are on the wet edge of the forest. However, wild apple has a wide physiological range and can grow on most soils.

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Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use

Malus sylvestris and Pyrus pyraster - Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use for wild apple and pear

Publication Year: 2003
Author: Stephan, B.R.; Wagner, I.; Kleinschmit, J.

The natural situation of these rare fruit tree species and their occurrence as single individuals or in small groups, restricts the possibilities for implementing in situ conservation strategies. For both species, the establishment of ex situ conservation seed orchards seems to be the most suitable and efficient conservation measure to undertake.

Natural regeneration should be supplemented by planting of seedlings originating from seed orchards. This method extends the genetic base of regeneration, which is important for future adaptability.

Grafting is not difficult and seed orchards can be relatively easily established. A minimum of 50 clones per seed orchard and region should be selected. New breeding populations can be restored when individual specimens, scattered over a large, but ecologically similar area, are collected and planted together in the seed orchard.



Genetic conservation of wild apple and wild pear


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