The most famous Welsh Apple and once heralded as “The World’s Rarest Apple” was discovered by Ian Sturrock in 1998.
Various romantic tales exist concerning the Bardsey Island Apple .
“The apple is a survivor of an earlier monastic orchard. The monks of Bardsey may have brought the apple from their Normandy homelands”
“The apple is directly descended from the one given to Adam by Eve”
“The tree bears Merlin’s Apple. The magician Merlin is buried in a glass casket deep inside a cave on Bardsey. When he awakes the apple will nourish him.”
However, the tree appears to have been deliberately planted against the wall of Plas Bach. Lord Newborough built Plas Bach in the 1870s. The apple was probably planted some years later. But why this apple?
One theory is that his lordship, like many Victorians, was fond of shooting. The apple is at its best around mid-September. It is an excellent juicy eater that also cooks to a light lemony puree. So, was this apple planted to provide an accompaniment to wildfowl, which would be migrating at that time? Unless there are recipes buried in Lord Newborough’s archive we may never know.
The answer is not very!
The picture shows the mother tree growing over the roof of Plas Bach. This building offers one of the few sheltered sites for an apple tree on Bardsey Island.
The salt winds regularly “prune” the tree. See how the branches that have grown beyond the shelter of the wall have lost all their leaves. Ian Sturrock visits the tree every so often to remove these dead twigs and perform other restoration pruning tasks.
Ian regularly says, “If you want to grow a tree by the sea get a coconut!”
Click here to buy a Bardsey Apple tree from our online shop