From Flower to Fruit

In spring apple trees are covered in apple blossoms. In order for the blossoms to become apples, they must be cross -  pollinated. This means that the pollen from one flower must travel to another before fertilization can occur. The creatures responsible for this important task are bees.

When bees travel from blossom to blossom they collect pollen. Pollen is made by the stamens of the blossom. The bee drops pollen from the stamens of one blossom onto the pistils of another blossom. The pollen travels from the sticky tips of the pistils - called the stigma - down a long tube known as the style and enters the ovary. It is at this point that fertilization occurs. After fertilization, ovules within the ovary can become apple seeds.

After fertilization occurs and seeds begin to develop, the petals from the blossoms fall off. Next, the ovary starts growing. The ovary is surrounded by a thin protective layer. This layer eventually becomes the core line - or apple core. The outer layer surrounding the ovary becomes the exocarp, or the eating part of the apple. The calyx, stamens, and pistils become the dry, hairy part at the bottom of the apple.