The early history of the cultivated apple is largely lost in antiquity. Many researchers have investigated the origin of the apple, including De Candolle (1884) and Vavilov (1951). Both agree that the most likely area of origin of the cultivated apple is in the region south of the Caucasus from the Persian province of Ghilan on the Caspian to the Turkish town of Trebizond on the Black Sea.
They base this conclusion on the fact that, although crab apples grow wild over most of Europe, the greatest variation in botanical characteristics occurs in this area.
The apple must have existed in the Caucasus region from time immemorial. Even today forests of apple and of other fruit trees occur in Georgia and Armenia. These trees are very variable in their characteristics. A wide range of types is observable from superior forms left by farmers clearing the forests to trees grafted with the better wild varieties.