Crab Apple
(Malus sylvestris ssp. sylvestris)
Simple
Roundish
Alternate
Toothed
Abrupt point
Not heart shaped

leaf

Winter twig
Winter twig

flowers
Flowers

fruit
Fruit

tree
Tree

 

lower and upper surfaces
Lower and upper surfaces

leaf with abrupt point
Leaf with abrupt point

tree and fruit

distribution map

The leaves are oval, 3-4 cm long and often shortly pointed. They are almost hairless with finely toothed margins. The stalk is 10-20 mm long.

ID check

Crab apple is a small deciduous tree rarely over 8 m in height. Its habitat is woods, hedgerows and scrub, on all except acid soils.

The flowers, which are borne in clusters, are crimson in bud and pale pink to white inside when they open. The anthers are yellow.

The apples, when full-sized, are about 2.5 cm across. They are green in early autumn but do not ripen fully and become golden until late winter.

If the leaves and flower stalks are hairy and the apples are over 3 cm across the tree is probably of cultivated origin (Malus domestica).

Facts

  • The apples are eaten by many birds and, when fallen, by mammals.

  • Crab-apples, though very sour, make a splendid jelly.

  • The wood is valued for carving and for burning.

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