Apples are thought to have originated in the mountains of central Asia, spreading eventually across the globe. There are thousands of named cultivars, according to Alan Buckinham in "Grow Fruit," and not only are new varieties being introduced, long-lost varieties are being re-discovered. Although there are many different types of apple trees, their leaves are strikingly similar.
Common Apple Tree Leaves
The common apple tree is often confused with a crabapple tree and produces a tarter fruit than a cultivated tree. These trees are often found in abandoned fields and orchards and at the edge of forests, according to the "Field Guide to Trees of North America" by the National Wildlife Federation. The leaf is two- to four-inches long, elliptical to broadly elliptical in shape, with a pointed tip and bluntly serrated edges. The leafstalk is hairy and the color is dark green with a gray, hairy underside.
Prairie Crab Apple Tree Leaves
The prairie crab apple tree grows wild in the Midwest, from Wisconsin south to Oklahoma and Arkansas along streams and at the edges of forests. The tree is identifiable by its pink and white flowers that bloom in the spring. The leaves are broadly ovate, which means wider at the base than the tip, according to "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees of the World" by Tony Russell, Catherine Cutler and Martin Walters. The margins, or edges, of the leaves are bluntly toothed and slightly lobed. The leaves are medium green and have a woolly underside.
Pillar Apple Tree Leaves
The pillar apple tree is originally from Japan but has been planted across the United States. A slender tree, the pillar apple grows well in poor soil and produces very little fruit, according to "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees, Volume 2002" by David More and John White. The leaves are broadly ovate, averaging five inches in length and three inches in width. The edges are sharply serrated and taper to a point at the tip. The leaves are grass-green in color and smooth with a slightly hairy underside.