Why Are Apples Red? Here’s We Find Out 3 Reasons


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Why are apples red

Red apples are so common in our surrounding world that we unintentionally think of them whenever someone asks what’s something fleshy red and realistic? Moreover, this shiny, bright-reddish color also defines the customer preferences as more the apple dark, it will be juicier and more flavorful. But ever you noticed why are apples red?

Or, what’s the primary thing that makes them so colorful and attractive? Well, if you don’t know, noting to worry about it.

Here, we will cover this fact in detail exploring the reasons behind the redness of this shiny large fruit. Besides this, we will also cover some other popular types of apple fruit and their appearance facts. So, let’s find out what gives apples such a colorful look.

Table of Contents

Why are apples red?

Apples are so red for a couple of important reasons. The first is the chemical nature of the apple fruit which is of worth significance. Apples get their characteristic color from a chemical pigment known as anthocyanin.

The production of anthocyanin is dependent on temperature and light. The more the production of anthocyanin, apples get darker reddish color. However, the pronounced dark color of apples also determines the extent of ripening.

The second reason is that apples want to appear different, attractive, and eye-catching among the green color of surrounding leaves. The dark red color makes them prominent and appealing to animals. And this way, apples adapt themselves for propagation.

By the way, if you questioned the red color of apples, you are directly questioned why they are apples because apples are meant to be red.

Red Apples Look Attractive Against Green Background

Red Apple Green Background

The bright, noticeable, and eye-catching red color becomes prominent and striking in green surrounding. As fruits are almost surrounded by green leaves and branches, so they have to be attractive and worth noticing.

When fruits are noticed by wild animals, they are more likely to be eaten by them which is the ultimate goal of plants bearing fruits.

After eating, seeds oppose the action of stomach acids and digestion and excrete out as-is from the animal’s body. This way, animals fertilize fruit seeds with their excrement and spread them to grow into fruitful trees.

The same goes valid in the case of apples. In short, the red color attracts animals and increases the survival chances of apple trees.

In addition, apples make humans happy by their eye-popping colors. And this way, they are consumed more and more likely to be cultivated in gardens.

Anthocyanins Determine The Actual Color

As you see earlier, anthocyanins are the plant pigments giving apples their characteristic color shade. Anthocyanin is a chemical with a vast color spectrum ranging from red to blue.

Therefore, it’s a versatile pigment found in blueberries, purple carrots, strawberries, red cabbage giving them a cool bluish-red tone. And remember, it’s the same pigment making cherries so red.

It’s the extent of the production of anthocyanin that determines the final tone of apples. Since different apple cultivars are genetically different from each other so they stimulate pigment production differently.

The less pigment production means lighter color like Rockit and Paula Red apples. Similarly, more pigment production means darker color like Red Delicious and Empire cultivars.

Besides the genetic makeup and biology of apples, anthocyanins demand sugars to develop and function properly.

Direct Sunlight And Temperature Influence Sugars

During growth, plants start to synthesize their food by using sunlight and water from the soil. They use this food to perform their functions and store extra food in the form of sugars.

As long as the plant progresses, the more sugar tends to be produced and stored. And this sugar is necessary for the expression of anthocyanins.

The same goes for apple trees also. Direct or reflected sunlight and temperature stimulate more and more synthesis of sugar thus indirectly causes the development of anthocyanins making apples red or brighter in color.

It’s the basic reason for the fact that the trees loaded with fruits yield less flavorful apples with poor and dull color. A lot of apples on a tree means poor distribution of synthesized sugar and every apple gets less sugar.

And because of less produced sugar, the less anthocyanins will express and there will be obviously light color rather than dark red. Such apples are less sweet and somewhat bland to taste.

Red Apples Have Been Selectively Bred For Some Reasons

As we know that the red color of apples is a trick of plants to survive in challenging environmental conditions. They evolved themselves to spread their seeds for propagation and for that purpose they need to be seen.

But why are most apples red? We know that the red cultivar is sweetest than any other variety because of the high sugar content that also stimulates the expression of anthocyanin.

But the actual fact is that the red cultivar is selectively bred by mankind to get more flavorful and eye-popping variety. Because red color seems to be more appealing, so red foods or fruits look appetizing and fascinating to eat.

Man has been consuming apples for hundreds of years but their modified cultivars are introduced just a couple of centuries ago. Among these cultivars, red is more favored for its stunning appearance and sweetest flavor.

Read Also: What Vegetables Are Man-Made?

Green, Yellow, And Mixed Cultivars Of Apples

There are countless varieties of apples possessing different characteristics. And besides red apple cultivar, green, yellow, and mixed cultivars are also common and much familiar to us.

Green apples are green just because of a pigment known as chlorophyll. Chlorophyll tends to produce continuously during summer season and stops during shorter days of winter.

Due to the slow breakdown of chlorophyll and the absence of any other pigment, such apples remain green. Granny Smith, Crispin, and Shizuko are some examples.

Some apple cultivars produce a distinct group of pigments known as carotenoids giving apples bright yellow color. Golden Delicious, Opal, and Ginger gold are some yellow apples.

There are also mixed cultivars having light red strips on them. Such apples produce anthocyanin but in a little quantity. For example, Fuji, Jonagold, and Paula Red cultivars.


Apples are so red because of the pigment anthocyanin that stimulates its expression in the presence of sugar content. Another reason for their attractive color is their survival and natural propagation.

Red color makes fruit visible to wild animals and thus eaten by them. Animals excrete apple seeds and spread them allowing them to grow into a fruitful or bountiful trees. However, green and yellow apple cultivars are common and have a different set of pigments.