Classic British apples may die out and be swapped for varieties from New Zealand and Japan, as climate breakdown means traditional fruits are no longer viable.
Apples such as pippin or the the ancient nonpareil, grown in Britain since the 1500s, are struggling in the changed climate because there are not enough “chilling hours” for the trees to lie dormant in winter and conserve energy for growing fruit.
Scientists at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, are planting 40 apple trees, a third of which are heritage varieties that once grew in its Georgian kitchen gardens. Another third are new varieties bred to need less cold over winter, and the final third are from warmer countries including South Africa. The varieties will be compared to see which has the best crop in London’s warming temperatures.