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Apple sleuths hunt Northwest for varieties believed extinct

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — A team of amateur botanists is combing parts of the Pacific Northwest in search of long-lost apple varieties.

The nonprofit Lost Apple Project hopes to rediscover varieties of apples long thought to be extinct that may still be growing in forgotten orchards.

Most of the apples they have found in eastern Washington and northern Idaho were planted by white settlers who moved west in the mid- to late-1800s.

So far, David Benscoter and E.J. Brandt have found 13 long-lost apple varieties and taken cuttings so they can be cloned and grown once more for future generations.

But the two are racing against time. The apple trees are a century or more old and are dying. And in other cases, old orchards are being ripped out for farming and development.

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Follow Gillian Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus

Associated Press

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