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Crab Apple Trees | Malus Trees

Crab Apple Trees (of which there are around 40 species and hundreds of hybrids) are an ornamental tree species which offer wonderful prolific spring blossom (some scented) as well as decorative, autumn fruits. The 'crab apples' are quite sour when eaten raw and are more popularly enjoyed when made into preserves or roasted and served with meat. They can also be added to cider to make for a more unique flavour. They are sometimes referred to as "Jewels of the Landscape" due to the extensive year round interest they provide.

Originally from temperate regions in the northern hemisphere where they grow in at woodland edges or in fairly open but still sheltered areas, these valuable trees are modest in height, with some topping out at 2m and larger varieties staying at a modest 15m in height, they grow well in virtually all soils (other than waterlogged or very dry) in sun or partial shade.  Mostly green leaved but some varieties have bronzed or purplish foliage in spring with good autumn colours an added benefit to the autumn crop of coloured fruits (fruit colours vary so have more than one!).  Fruit sizes vary from really quite small and not suitable for culinary purposes to really quite large (up to 5cm) - bright yellow, gorgeous gold, full orange, shades of red - the yellow and orange fruits sometimes bloom with red tinges too - generally redder in sunny areas.

Crab apple trees are ideal for small gardens, with mature trees at a manageable size and with strong spring and autumn features.  Some varieties are suited to growing in containers.  They are all self-fertile.

Mythology & Folklore of The Crab Apple Tree

  • Folk lore states that if you throw crabapple pips into a fire whilst saying the name of the person you love you can discover if it really is true love as the pips will explode. If they don't explode, it means that sadly, that person is not meant for you.
  • Crab Apple Trees have been regularly mentioned in literature, with Shakespeare incorporating them into both A Midsummer Night's Dream and Love's Labour Lost.
  • In Celtic culture, crabapple wood was burned during fertility festivals as a good luck charm.

Interesting Facts about Crab Apple Trees

  • Crab Apples are names as such because of their size.  If the fruits were larger than 2 inches in diameter, they'd be considered an apple
  • Prior to opening, the buds of a crab apple swell up and typically differ in colour to the flowers that emerge from them. The established Malus Evereste, for example, produces scarlet buds though when in bloom the flowers are white, fading to a pale pink colour

Wildlife Benefits of planting a Crab Apple Tree

Malus Trees are particularly beneficial to wildlife. Birds will eat the crabapples whilst many types of bees will come looking for pollen and nectar from certain varieties of crabapple tree. They are also used as pollinisers in orchards and can be used for practicing the art of bonsai.  Crap apple trees produce huge quantities of pollen.

Crab Apple Trees come in a range of shapes and colours. From weeping to upright; green foliage or purple and single or double flowers in white, pink or purple. There's a flowering crab apple tree to suit every garden!

If you're looking for a particularly small crab apple tree, click here.  

A number of varieties are available in mature sizes from 2m to 6m height.  Please look at Malus Evereste, Malus floribunda, Malus Red Sentinel, Malus Rudolph, and Malus Tschonoskii.

 

For Help & Advice on planting, pruning or general FAQs, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crab Apple Trees | Malus Trees
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