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Isaac Newton's Tree apple tree

Isaac Newton's Tree
Isaac Newton's Tree is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators
  • Picking season: Late
  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Pollination group: 5

Every school student knows Sir Isaac Newton had the inspiration for his theory of gravity when 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. As might be expected of a variety from this period, Flower of Kent is a large sharp-tasting cooking apple with juicy crisp flesh, but not particularly flavorsome by modern standards.

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. 

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.

The trees we supply are propagated from a nursery tree which was raised from a cutting of a Flower of Kent apple tree originally obtained by the USDA Geneva research station. It is likely this tree was in turn propagated from cuttings sent from the RHS at Wisley in England. An article on the National Institute of Standards and Technology website gives more insight into the history of attempts to propagate the original Isaac Newton tree in the USA.

Isaac Newton's Tree apple trees for sale

You can pre-order now for spring 2025

  • Semi-dwarf 1-year bare-root tree $37.95
    Mature height: 8ft-12ft after 10 years
    G.969 rootstock

How to grow

Flower of Kent is unusually late-flowering, so is a useful variety in areas subject to late spring frosts, but make sure you have another late-blooming variety to pollinate it.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

Isaac Newton's Tree characteristics

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Pollination group5
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • Picking seasonLate
  • UsesCulinaryTraditional cooker
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-2 months
  • General resistanceAverage
  • Summer maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Cold (< 20C / 67F)
  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1600 - 1649