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Isaac Newton's Tree apple tree

Isaac Newton's Tree

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.

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.

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.

Isaac Newton's Tree apple trees for sale

  • Small 1-year bare-root tree $29.00
    Mature height: 6ft-9ft after 10 years
    G.11 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.

Historical details

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

Isaac Newton's Tree characteristics

  • Picking seasonLate
  • UsesCulinaryTraditional cooker
  • CroppingGood
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-2 months
  • Flavor style (apples)Sharper
  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Pollination group5
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • PloidyDiploid
  • VigourAverage vigour
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Fruit bearingPartial tip-bearer
  • General resistanceAverage
  • Summer average maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Cold (< 20C / 67F)
  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1600 - 1649