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Isaac Newton's Tree

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, England - 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! The tree appears to have blown over several times in its life, but each time has re-grown from the roots.

As might be expected of a variety from this period, Flower of Kent is a large sharp-tasting cooking apple with juicy crisp flesh.

Many cuttings have since been taken from the famous scientist's tree, and it is a popular variety in the grounds of university physics departments around the world.

Isaac Newton's Tree apple trees for sale

  • 11-year maiden bare-root tree 33.45
    M26 rootstock
    Medium size (2.5m-3m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
  • 21-year maiden bare-root tree 33.45
    MM106 rootstock
    Large size (3m-4m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
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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.

History

Flower of Kent is an old English culinary apple variety, dating back to the early 17th century.

Isaac Newton's Tree characteristics

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Flowering group5
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • PloidyDiploid
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Fruit bearingPartial tip-bearer
  • Picking seasonLate
  • CroppingGood
  • Keeping1-2 months
  • Useful forCulinaryTraditional cooker
  • Disease resistanceAverage
  • Climate typeTemperate climates
  • Summer average maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Cold (< 20C / 67F)
  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1600 - 1649
  • Flower colourWhite