The Karnataka Horticulture Department has successfully grown about a half a dozen apple trees for botanical records. The department which sourced information from last 100 years discovered that the Bengaluru had 1,000  acres farmland used for growing apples. The same was use to be sold on the streets of Cantonment. 

 

However, the tradition came down crashing in 1960s due change in weather and rapid urbanisation.

 

I V Ittal Mani, former director of Horticulture department, who is the brain behind this project 'Bengaluru Apple' says, in 2014-2015 there were about half dozen 12-year-old trees in Lalbagh botanical garden that bore fruit. 

 

"These apple tree saplings were brought from Kannur and Ooty about in 2006 and planted. Organically, these Rome species were cultivated in Bengaluru since 1887," said  Mani.

 

He says the department has documented from the British tourist James Hickey book published in 1930 where he mentioned how the Bengaluru apples were cultivated and sold on streets in Cantonment areas up the early 1960s and later the species died due to change the temperature and pollution. 

 

"The crop then was termed as commercial and was even sent to the British army in Burma, Singapore and other places through Chennai harbour. But, these apple trees developed fungus and disease due to change in environment, and slowly the apple gardens vanished, but few places in Karnataka like Ooty and Kannur these trees are grown now for the botanical purpose," he said. 

 

The present Deputy Director of Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, Chandrashekhar says, this year the trees had few flowers, but there were no fruits as the climate in November was hot. 

 

"To ensure the trees survive, we have used drip irrigation technique and the room temperature is well balanced for the tree to survive, we hope to see fruits next year," he confirmed.