Apples spread throughout whole world starting with the Silk Road

DNA analysis1 established that the wild apple Malus sierversii is ancestor of modern cultivated apples. Malus sierversii in addition to a great diversity of other apple species are native to Southern Kazakhstan. This makes Almaty the largest city in Kazakhstan the apple’s ancestral home.

Wild Malus sieversii apple, Tarbagatai mountains, Kazakhstan

According to University of Illinois2,

  1. Apples were the favourite fruit of ancient Greeks and Romans.
  2. World’s top apple producers are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy.

How did apples get to ancient Greeks and Romans? The ancient Silk Road.

Apples spread throughout whole world starting from the Silk Road

It is not a coincidence that China and Turkey which are top producers of apples today anchor the two ends of the Silk Road. Unfortunately for Kazakhstan, the apple has not brought them a fortune. Despite an apple producer, Kazakhstan is a net importer. Imported fruit had estimated 55% market share in 20163.

An apple tree lives over a 100 years and can start fruiting 4-5 years after planting. Producing apples becomes a long term game of efficiency – when to plant new trees and when to uproot old trees that are no longer productive.


  1. The genome of the domesticated apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.)
  2. Apple Facts
  3. Kazakhstan: Increasing domestic apple production
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About Aaron

I am over 40 years old, married and have 2 kids. I am waiting for a few more years for the little one to be ready for 'tougher' trips. In the meantime, we spend our holidays in Asian cities. Singaporean. Speak and write English and Chinese.
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