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Isaac Newton's Tree apple trees

(Also known as Flower of Kent).

Every school pupil knows that Sir Isaac Newton had the inspiration for his theory of gravity whilst sitting under an apple tree and pondering why apples fall. This lovely story, which was related by Newton himself to several correspondents, occurred in the summer of 1666 - about 350 years ago.

What is perhaps less well-known is that the variety of apple which the famous scientist saw falling from the tree has been positively identified. The incident is known to have taken place in his garden at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire - and fortunately there was only one apple tree in the garden. It was subsequently identified as a very old English variety (not surprisingly) called Flower of Kent.

Even more remarkably, this apple tree, which must surely be the most important in the history of science, is still alive. It appears to have blown over several times in its life, but each time has re-grown from the roots.

Many cuttings have been taken from the original tree, and it has become a popular variety in the grounds of university physics departments around the world.

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Isaac Newton's Tree apple trees for sale

Bare-root

  • BR11-year bare-root tree MM106 rootstock £19.95
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)

How to grow

Sir Isaac Newton's tree - Flower of Kent - is unusually late-flowering, so is a useful variety in areas subject to late spring frosts. Most late-flowering apple varieties will pollinate it, as well as late-flowering white-flowered crab-apples.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

History

Flower of Kent is an old English culinary apple variety, dating back to the early 17th century. As might be expected of a variety from this period, Flower of Kent is a large sharp-tasting cooking apple with juicy crisp flesh. It cooks to a smooth puree.

Isaac Newton's Tree characteristics

Growing

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Flowering group5
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • Fruit bearingPartial tip-bearer
  • Climate suitabilityTemperate climates

Using

  • Picking seasonLate
  • CroppingGood
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-2 months
  • Food usesCulinaryTraditional cooker
  • Flavour style (apples)Sharper

Problems

  • Disease resistanceAverage

Climate

    Identification

    • Country of originUnited Kingdom
    • Period of origin1600 - 1649