My daughter and her friend, walking in a pause of rain yesterday from Memorial Day parade practice to the town library, paused beneath an apple tree along the river. She told me this driving home, before the library was out of sight.

Her friend shook the tree trunk while she stood beneath the white blossoms, looking up.

She said, I was in a snowstorm of petals.

More than any other single trait, it is the apple’s genetic variability—its ineluctable wildness—that accounts for its ability to make itself at home in places as different from one another as New England and New Zealand, Kazakhstan and California.

Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire