2013 33¢ Apples
Set of 8
Issue Date: January 17, 2013
City: Yakima, WA
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Offset
Puritans brought the apple tree to North America, where William Blaxton first harvested what was called “winter bananas” or “melt-in-the-mouths.”
Known today as apples, the fruit is one of the most complex examples of Mother Nature’s work. Scientists recently discovered the Golden Delicious apple has 57,000 genes, the highest of any plant and nearly twice that of humans.
Mankind has played a role in developing more than 7,500 different apple varieties, something nature would not have done on its own. Apple trees are difficult to start from seed, most are not self-pollinators, and those that survive usually produce fruit that is not edible. Instead, growers rely on propagation, during which a branch or bud from a desired variety is grafted onto rootstock. The tree that grows produces fruit similar to the grafted variety.
Propagation allows for two promising scenarios. Modern varieties are developed through genetic mutation before grafting. And the chance discovery of heirloom trees in old orchards means our ancestors’ favorites can be resurrected through grafting.
But whether we bite into the same variety people of the Stone Age enjoyed or thrill to a newly created sensation, we’ll be savoring a tasty and healthy treat.