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A favorite fruit around the world, the apple, (Genus Malus,) it was adopted as Washington's state fruit in 1989. It comes in many different colors, sizes and varities. From the beautiful blossoms of spring, to the heavily laden branches in autumn, the apple trees of eastern Washington represent one of the largest industries in the state. The Washington apple is certainly one of the most recognized symbols of the state worldwide.
People around the world who only have a vague idea of where Washington state is know that it's the place where apples grow best.
It wasn't always so. The image of Washington as one of the top apple-growing regions of the world didn't just happen. It was the result of persistent promotion. On March 17, 1937, the governor of Washington signed into law an act creating the Washington State Apple Advertising Commission. The law allowed for an assessment of one cent (at that time) to be levied on each box of apples packed for the fresh market. A 13-member board would oversee the use of the funds. Today, the same structure exists, and Washington growers contribute 25 cents per box for promotion and advertising.
The commission is headquartered in Wenatchee, at the center of one of the prime apple growing regions in Washington state. A staff of marketing professionals promotes apples through retail marketing, advertising, public relations, health and food communications.
To assist with its marketing effort at the retail level, the commission maintains a staff of field representatives in all major US market areas. Four additional regional managers work with the foodservice industry which includes restaurants, cafeterias and schools.
All around the world, consumers recognize Washington apples as the best apples on earth. An outstanding product and the famous red apple logo have
helped build that image since 1937.
Apples are members of the rose family, or Rosaceae, and the genus Malus. The common wild apple of Europe and Asia is Malus pumila. Other wild species are Malus sylvestris (a wild crab apple), and Malus baccata. Cultivated apples are also called Malus pumila, though they may also be descended from one or more of the other wild species.
The alternate, simple, toothed leaves of Apple are variable in size and shape. Mature Apple trees often have extensive development of spur branches, although they are frequently lacking on and fast growing young branches at the outer edge of the canopy, and on young plants. The dense, almost wooly hairs on the buds can be a helpful character to confirm the identity of Apple. Bark of mature trunks tends to have a smooth inner layer with a subtle reddish hue, and peeling sections of an outer grayish layer. Bark of young branches is often smooth and much different in appearance then the bark of mature trunks. The growth form of Apple trees (even escapes) grown in full sun is distinctive and familiar to many people. The trunk divides low into several major branches and the canopy is typically as wide or wider than tall. Escapes developing under (with) forest canopy are usually taller and less spreading of form and may require closer examination.
The law designating the apple as the official Washington state fruit is found in the Revised Code of Washington, Title 1, Chapter 1.20, Section 1.20.035.
Chapter 1.20 RCW
Title 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS
The official fruit of the state of Washington is the apple.
[1989 c 354 § 63.]
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Apple
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Rosaceae - Rose family
Genus: Malus Mill. - apple