50 original trees and bushes are on the extinct list
The world's original apple tree may become extinct, this is the apple tree according to Biblical stories was said to have grew in the Garden of Eden.
As well as that apple tree, another 50 trees and bushes are on the list that may go, all original major fruits and berries. It is said most of the fruits and berries we eat can be traced back to these as the original source.
So, so sad.
In Biblical legend, it grew in the Garden of Eden. In reality, it grew wild in Kazakhstan. And now the world's original apple tree, the progenitor of all our modern apple varieties, is threatened with extinction.
It is one of nearly 50 trees, including the original apricot and the original walnut, which have become endangered in a belt of forests in Central Asia – a region home to more than 300 wild fruit and nut species, including, plum, cherry, and many other important food trees from which domesticated varieties are thought to descend.
In the past 50 years an estimated 90 per cent of these forests have been destroyed, and a new survey has pinpointed the threat to the very existence of many of the wild tree species they contain. The Red List of Trees of Central Asia identifies 44 tree species in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan as threatened with extinction.
Notable among them is Kazakhstan's wild apple, Malus sieversii, which scientists from the University of Oxford have recently judged to be the genetic progenitor of all domestic apples in cultivation today. (The name of Kazakhstan's former capital city is Almaty, which means "Father of Apples".)
It is thought that as the wild apples were domesticated and bred, they gradually spread westwards down the Silk Road, the great trading highway for camel caravans which linked Asia to the Middle East and ultimately Europe, and that this process was repeated with other fruits and nuts. It happened with the wild apricot, Armeniaca vulgaris, from which all the current varieties of apricot stem – 6,000-year-old apricot seeds have been discovered during archaeological excavations in the region – and the wild walnut, Juglans regia. Both of these species are now to be found on the Red List.
According to the British conservation charity Fauna & Flora International (FFI), which has drawn up the list in collaboration with Botanic Gardens Conservation International, "these fruit and nut forests have been described as a biological Eden, and have long held an important role in human culture".