A year ago I predicted that stem cells from fruits and vegetables would start to appear in anti-wrinkle potions. Capturing human stem cells is controversial and those from animals are somehow unappealing (and carry risk of infection). Enter vegetal stem cells. In particular, stem cells derived from apples have just started to appear in commercially available creams.

Of course, they don't come from any old apple. No, these stem cells come from a very rare Swiss apple tree that we are told was cultivated over 300 hundred years ago for the long storage life of the fruit. So rare is it, that it was practically extinct. One day, a few trees were spotted somewhere in an isolated corner of the Alps. Scientists were all of a dither, seeing the possibilities immediately: stem cells could be extracted from this long living apple and be used to make other things live long - like my aging skin cells.

I was actually falling for all of this whilst reading a lengthy article penned by a Dr Goldfaden. That is, until I came across Goldfaden Stem Cell Serum and the sweet aroma of life-giving fruit began to smell a bit fishy. Dr G's article is very detailed and it goes so far as to give us the name of this rare species of tannin-rich apple: Uttwiler Spätlauber.

By now, I was on the alert. A Google search of Uttwiler Spätlauber threw up over 30o references and not one of them was botanical. In fact, they ALL refer to the invention of a new skincare ingredient. Uttwiler Spätlauber lives only in the imagination of Dr Goldfaden and the cosmetic industry.

Interestingly, searching on terms such as 'vegetal stem cells', 'fruit' stem cells or 'apple stem cells' is even less, ahem, fruitful. And, once more, references go back to cosmetics and a company called Emerge that supposedly invented a process for extracting stem cells from "rare Swiss apples" called PhytoCellTec.

The whole thing is hooey and has as about as much basis in reality as that other Swiss apple myth, the legend of William Tell.

Ingredients in Emerge Stem Cell Swiss Apple Serum ($120)

Purified Water, (PhytoCellTec™ Stem Cell) Malus Domestica, Glycerin, Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol Collagen, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, (Matrixyl 3000), Squalane, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Propylene Glycol, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.

Ingredients in Goldfaden Stem Cell Serum ($75)

Chondrus Crispus (Seaweed) Extract, Purified Water, Hyaluronic Acid, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture, Xanthan Gum, Clycerin, Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Red Tea Extract.