The apple tree (Malus domestica) is a deciduous tree in the rose family best known for its sweet, pomaceous fruit, the apple. It is cultivated worldwide as a fruit tree, and is the most widely grown species in the genus Malus. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Norse, Greek and European Christian traditions.
The fruit matures in late summer or autumn, and varieties exist with a wide range of sizes. Some consumers, especially those in Japan, prefer a larger apple are generally used for making juice and have little fresh market value. The skin of ripe apples is generally red, yellow, green, pink, or russetted although many bi- or tri-colored varieties may be found. The skin is covered in a protective layer of epicuticular wax. The flesh is generally pale yellowish-white, though pink or yellow flesh is also known.