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Apples; Development of apples
Long before the discovery of grafting, probably around 300BC, apple trees bearing poor fruits were cut down and the good ones left and their crops harvested. Better trees might have been brought from forests and transported nearer home. Apple remains have been found at Jericho in the Jordan Valley, and have been dated at about 6500BC. Natural grafts can occur when two branches rub together and eventually fuse, and this would have been observed, and over the centuries a mixture of selection and grafting had produced named varieties.
By 1629 John Parkinson (re: "Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris" by J. Parkinson) could name no fewer than fifty-seven kinds of apple.
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