[NAFEX] Preserving (maybe not) rare apples in Yosemite Nation...
Jwlehman at aol.com
Jwlehman at aol.com
Sun Apr 5 21:50:39 EDT 2009
In a message dated 4/5/2009 6:47:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
lonrom at hevanet.com writes:
> >If you would be interested in being somehow involved with the
> >preservation of these last known varieties of apples and pears, please
> >contact me and I will provide you with the contact information for the
> >National Park Service staff in Yosemite who would dearly love to see
> >these trees saved for future generations. It would be great, if when
> >I am in Yosemite again next month, that I could have some good news
> >for these hard working and concerned park employees that don’t have
> >the means or government funds or support to do the preservation work
> >themselves, but there are others that are willing to provide some kind
> >of help.
Hello fruit variety preservationists,
I wouldn't donate one cent to preserve those varieties unless it is named and
then no other known specimens of that variety available. There are over 3,000
named apple varieties and one place I read there are 5,000 and I suspect
there are even more worldwide. Of these many are lost and with good reason, they
were inferior to other varieties and have been lost to history because those
that held them saw no reason to propagate them.
Eleven years ago Phil Forsline traveled to Kazakhstan to collect germplasm in
the wild apple orchards consisting of thousands of acres. Several other trips
were made and thousands of seeds brought back. Many seedlings of these seeds
are being exposed to common diseases, especially Fire Blight. Those that
survive are being grown and further tested. The Midwest Apple Improvement Assoc.
(MAIA) has hundreds under test. Some are in the hands of private apple growers.
About 10 years ago in Maikop, Russia there was a Germplasm repository with
2,600 apple accessions, some remain today but have no idea how many. It isn't
cheap to maintain any repository. Apples are not indigenous to the US. Most came
from Europe with settlers. There are no natural wild apple forests in the US.
It would be a one in a million shot that any of the Yosemite material has any
more valuable traits than what is available elsewhere. But it makes a good
story for visitors.
I did have a list of hundreds of apple varieties that came into this country
from Russia over a hundred years ago, some of which could be at Yosemite. They
may still be in Russia under another name.
I know some of you will wish to throw rotten eggs at me after this, but I
wouldn't want to see any of my tax dollars supporting that one collection of
apple trees. I'd much rather my tax $$$ used to support the MAIA
OK, I'm braced for the verbal eggs.
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