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The apple is a tree and its pomaceous fruit, of species Malus domestica in the family Rosaceae, and is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. It is a small deciduous tree reaching 5-12 m tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple oval with an acute tip and serrated margin, slightly downy below, 5-12 cm long and 3-6 cm broad on a 2-5 cm petiole. The flowers are produced in spring with the leaves, white, usually tinged pink at first, 2.5-3.5 cm diameter, with five petals. The apple fruit matures in the autumn, and is typically 5-8 cm diameter (rarely up to 15 cm).
Mature trees typically bear 100-200 kg (5-10 bushels) of apples each year. Apples are harvested using three-point ladders that are designed to fit amongst the branches. A few cultivars, left unpruned, will grow to be extremely large, causing them to bear a great deal of fruit that is difficult to harvest. Dwarf trees will bear about 50-100 kg (3-5 bushels) of fruit per year.
Apples have long been considered healthy, as indicated by the proverb an apple a day keeps the doctor away. In practice apples have been proven to reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. They can also help with heart disease, weight loss and controlling cholesterol.
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