[NAFEX] A historical question
Lon J. Rombough
lonrom at hevanet.com
Sun Apr 19 19:24:06 EDT 2009
"The Apples of Maine" says apples arrived BEFORE settlers. Fishermen
came to the outer islands of the Grand Banks and left apples, probably
as cores or other debris from apples carried on ship to prevent scurvy.
Trees grew and were found by Indians who carried the fruit to the
mainland. This went on for a number of decades before European
settlers arrived on the mainland.
Also, Eric Sloane indicates that some people layered trees and brought
small potted trees that way.
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On Apr 19, 2009, at 3:12 PM, david.maxwell at dal.ca wrote:
Does anybody have any solid evidence regarding the introduction of
apples to North America? Malus malus is not native to America, and was
introduced from Europe by the early settlers. Now here is the
question: did they simply plant seeds, and grow seedling apples, or did
they bring the old world varieties with them? Beech says, "Some few
brought trees or scions of choice varieties, but more followed the less
expensive plan of bringing seeds of selected fruits to plant about
their new homes." This, of course, ignores the fact that planting
seeds of "selected fruits", (at least, selected apples) would not have
yielded them trees of their "choice varieties". He goes on to mention
that Governor Endicott's apple tree was "stated to be a seedling", but
"possibly the earliest recorded grafted tree brought from Europe was
the Summer Bonchretien of Gov. Stuyvesant brought in 1647 in New
Amsterdam., (which stood at the intersection of Third Ave. and 13'th
St. in New York until it was broken down by a dray in 1866).
Nicolas Denys, who accompanied Simon de Razilly in 1632, establishing
the first capital of New France at the mouth of the LaHave River in
modern-day Nova Scotia, recorded in 1635 details of the priest's
garden: "He also had some apple and pear trees which were well started
and very fine, but not yet in condition to bear, since they were
brought small from France." Certainly my interpretation of this is
that he was importing grafted trees, almost certainly of named
varieties. (Nobody is going to bother importing seedlings, unless they
wanted to get a head start on growing their own in the new world,
knowing that there weren't any waiting for them in America.) Certainly
varietal apples were well known in Europe, and my understanding is that
the appples grown there were generally grafted varietals rather than
wild seedlings. It makes sense to me that the settlers would have
brought with them the same methods of apple culture they used in
Europe, rather than reverting to wholesale sowing of random crosses of
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