Genetic analysis have shown that domestic apples have their origin in a wild variety, Malus sieversii, which can be seen, among other, in the mountains of Aksu Zhabagly, about 90 km east of Shymkent.
Apple tree Malus sieversii is endemic to the Tian Shan Mountains in southern Kazakhstan, northern Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and western China. It grows in vast forests in valleys, or isolated on hills.
This variety has an incredible genetic diversity. Indeed, apples do not have a standard format, and, depending on the tree, will be small or large, sweet, sour or bitter, green, yellow, red or variegated…
Besides, Malus sieversii has adapted over years to extreme weather conditions, various soil types, and to very aggressive diseases and viruses, making it very resistant.
However, this exceptional natural heritage is threatened by deforestation, overgrazing, urbanization and hybridization with domestic species.
Growing apples is very common in southern Kazakhstan, in gardens or large estates. So, what a paradox to find so many imported apples from Poland in shops and markets of Shymkent!
Then, let’s preserve the natural heritage of Kazakhstan, and let’s eat Kazakh apples!