When is an apple not an apple? When it’s a cross between varieties of pear but still looks like an apple and tastes like a pear. And what do you call such a fruit? According to Marks and Spencer, you call it a Papple.
The new fruit, a hybrid grown in New Zealand, is due to go on sale in the UK retailer’s stores in the next few days, and is currently only called a papple as a temporary measure until another name is found, or so it is claimed. I’d be surprised if that ever changes. Its official name is T109, which will of course not be widely used, not least because it sounds like an Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi robot.
The concept of pear crosses having similarities to apples is not a new one. Nashi Pear is perhaps the best known name of the Pyrus pyrofolia species, with Apple Pear being one of the alternative names. A papple is clearly a different fruit, and the use of a name that will stick in people’s minds in the short term is a good way of establishing the brand.
But will it last? Well the appearance of the Papple has allowed people to remind us of the Pineberry, combining the best of the strawberry and the pineapple; the Grapple, which is a grape-like apple; or the Aprium, which combines the apricot with the plum.
What these cross-breed words serve to tell us is that while they sound memorable, they don’t really have any great longevity. We will think about papples and joke about the word for a few weeks, and then they will be likely to fade away, with the word quickly becoming historical and not entering everyday usage. In fact, it will only become current the next time that somebody combines some fruit and puts it in the shops, allowing us once again to trot out all its predecessors. For entertainment’s sake, let’s hope that anything in the future involves a mango.