Planted in 1999, this tree is the certified direct descendant of the last living apple tree thought to be planted by John Chapman ( Johnny Appleseed ), pioneer American nurseryman.
During 45 years in the 19th Century, Chapman spread a staggering 20 bushels of apple seed (300,000 seeds per bushel) to create trees and or- chards all over America. During Prohibition, however, the FBI cut down al- most all of these trees to prevent the production of homemade cider. By the 1990s, supposedly the only verified Johnny Appleseed tree to have escaped this fate was a sole Rambo Apple in Nova, Ohio (see last photo). [Offspring of the Nova tree are no longer available.]
This supposition, however, is probably false. Apple varieties like the Rambo can only be perpetuated through grafting, not seed. And John Chapman didn’t graft, he planted seeds. Thus, as noted by Michael Pollan in Botany of Desire (2001), the old Nova tree can either be the last surviving apple tree that Chapman planted, or it can be a Rambo, but it cannot be both.
This amazing tree inspired the author of “First Blood” to name the hero of his novel “Rambo,” which then led to the famous film franchise.
[The photo of John Chapman is from: “Johnny Appleseed Biography,”The FamousPeople.com, February 16, 2018.]