Apple Symbolism and Legends

Apples As Symbols of Love and Youth
Apple Blossom Symbolism
Apple Blossoms and the Wood Element
Apple Symbolism and the Fire Element
History of the Apple in America
Apple Symbolism and Immortality
Apple Symbolism and Johnny Appleseed
Modern Apple Symbolism

Apples As Symbols of Love and Youth

Nature Symbolism Photo 1When you are looking for appropriate nature symbolism for your home or office, remember that apples and apple blossoms are ideal symbols of love, youth, beauty and happiness. The apple blossom is the state flower for Arkansas, once a top apple-producing state in the United States. Apple blossoms are pink and white with leaves of medium green.

Apple Blossom Symbolism

Nature Symbolims Photo 2Pink, which is a modified red, encourages action, motion, courage and passion. Pink is a more sophisticated color than pure red and is sometimes more appealing to adults. Pink is also gentler and more appropriate for healing. Pink can be used to relieve depression. As the color of warmth and love, pink offers comfort while encouraging motion and an outward orientation.

For more on flower symbolism, see our recommended books from Amazon:
Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees
The Language of Flowers: Symbols And Myths
The Language of Flowers
The Meaning of Flowers
Forget-Me-Not: A Floral Treasury Sentiments and Plant Lore

Apple Blossoms and the Wood Element

In the eastern five element system, all types of plant life are primarily categorized as the wood element. The wood element is a stimulus for new projects and adventures. The energy of apple blossoms bursting forth in spring encourages us to take on new challenges and renews our strength. Learn more in our article on the Chinese five elements.

Apple Symbolism and the Fire Element

Nature Symbolism Photo 3The secondary symbolism of apple blossoms is the fire energy associated with the pink color. Fire connotes warmth, passion and relationships. Fire creates enthusiasm. Images with fire symbolism are appropriate for supporting romance and idealistic endeavors. Learn more in our article on the Chinese five elements.

History of the Apple in America

The apple itself has a venerable history. There are over 1,000 varieties of apples cultivated in the United States, all of which are descended from the wild crab apple. The apple tree is originally a native of Europe and has adapted well to the North American continent. The apple tree is the state tree of Washington, know for its prolific apple orchards. Apple trees flower from April to June.

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Nature Symbolism Photo 3Apple Symbolism and Immortality

The apple has long been associated with immortality, as exemplified by its role in the tempting of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The mystical Isle of Avalon, famed place of eternal rest for Celtic heroes including King Arthur, is literally "the apple land" or "apple island." In Scandinavian legends, the North-European gods and goddesses were fed an apple every evening by Iduna, the goddess of spring and youth who nurtures an apple orchard in Asgard.

Apple Symbolism and Johnny Appleseed

As far as modern myths go, Johnny Appleseed is the most prominent American legend associated with apples. Born John Chapman in 1774, he lived for about 12 years near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In his mid-twenties, Johnny began his journey westward with an eye for providing settlers with apple trees and saplings.

There was a law at the time that required settlers to plant 50 apple trees in their first year on newly acquired land. This law was aimed at preventing starvation among the settlers. Although Johnny wandered far and wide planting trees, he also owned and leased considerable areas of land for his apple orchards.

Nature Symbolism Photo 4Johnny was a devout Christian who was influenced by the ideas of Emmanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg valued love and joy above all other virtues. Compared to many of the repressive philosophies then in vogue, his approach to the spiritual life was a breath of fresh air for the settlers with whom Johnny shared his religious tracts and Biblical interpretations.

Johnny Appleseed spent nearly 50 years traversing the wilderness planting apple trees and tending to his own orchards. Johnny dreamed of a landscape beautified by apple blossoms and a country where no one would go hungry. Johnny believed that apples are among "the finest things on earth."

Learn more about apples and Johnny Appleseed in these recommended books from Amazon:
Johnny Appleseed
Who Was Johnny Appleseed?
The Apple Grower: Guide for the Organic Orchardist

Apple Cookbook
The Best Apples to Buy and Grow

Modern Apple Symbolism

Today the American apple industry today is worth billions of dollars. And thanks to Johnny Appleseed, the symbolism of apples has been given a much more positive spin. And nothing is more symbolically American than apple pie!

©2007-2010 Living Arts Enterprises, LLC


Jone, Julia. Country Diary of Garden Lore. NY: Summit Books, 1968.

Lehner, Ernst. Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees. NY: Tudor Publishing C., 1960.

Greenaway, Kate. Language of Flowers. 1884.



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