Green apple: a feminine myth and legend
Grown around the world for its tart taste, its solid flesh and the intense green color of its skin, the queen of green apples, Granny Smith, was originally cultivated in Australia. It bears the name of an elderly lady, Maria Ann Smith (whence the term Granny), who was the first to produce it. Legend would have it that Granny Smith brought back an apple core from a Sydney market which had lain at the bottom of an old gin case and that she threw into a corner of her garden, thus causing a tree to grow in 1868, bearing the new fruit. More prosaically, the variety is a hybrid between a wild apple tree, Malus Sylvestris pollinated by a common apple tree, Malus Pumila. Granny Smith joins a long line of mythological women associated to apples, beginning with Eve in the Garden of Eden and continuing across millennia with, among others, Pomona, Greek goddess of abundance. The apple is also at the center of the biggest feminine dispute in Greek mythology, where a beauty contest organized by the witch Eris (a sort of precursor of the wicked witch in Snow White) between Hera, Athena et Aphrodite (winner of the competition who receives an apple as her reward). This disagreement triggers the Trojan War and generates the term “apple of discord”, which is used only slightly in English, but is a common expression in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch and many other European languages. Granny Smith brings some calmness back to these apple-inspired dramas, evoking the image of a solid and wise woman who provides us with the pleasure of a virtuous fruit!