From Marie Ann Smith to the tables worldwide: the legend of one of the most famous apple varieties.
Botanists aren’t usually very imaginative when naming the plants they’ve just discovered. The story behind the name given to one of the world’s most sharp-tasting and crunchy apples, however, is rather more interesting. The green, slightly acidic Granny Smith has taken on a surname common worldwide, but which in this instance can be traced back to just one lucky lady who unknowingly discovered the variety in her garden.
Legend has it that Marie Ann Smith, also known as Granny, an Englishwoman who emigrated to Australia along with her husband Thomas in the mid-1800s, was doing some weeding one day, discarding the unwanted plants in a heap at the bottom of her garden.
A few months later, however, Marie noticed that some fruit had begun to grown on some of the discarded branches, which soon turned into small apples which were very different to the ones she knew and had grown. This lady died without knowing that the apples she had discovered would end up being popular the world over, thanks to their hardy nature and resistance to being moved and transported over long distances.
In Ryde, New South Wales, the official biography of Marie Ann is kept, while throughout Australia the wild green apples are very common.