Devon Wildlife Trust The Crab apple is a small tree of woodland edges and hedgerows; it is also frequently planted in commercial orchards. Its pinky-white flowers appear in May and ripen to small, green apples in late summer. This fruit can be used for making jellies and wines or roasted with meat, and, as a result, this tree has been cultivated for thousands of years. Like many of our trees, the Crab apple is important for local wildlife, including Blackbirds, thrushes, mice and voles who all eat the fruit.
How to Identify
The Crab apple can be easily mistaken for other varieties of apple that have been planted or have escaped. It can be distinguished by its small, finely toothed, oval leaves, and small, yellow-green fruits. Orchard varieties tend to have larger fruits and pinker flowers.
Woodland Trust A symbol of fertility and a forager's delight. Crab apple trees are associated with love and marriage and its small, hard fruits make an exquisite, jewel-coloured jelly.
One of the ancestors of the cultivated apple (of which there are more than 6,000 varieties), it can live to up to 100 years. Mature trees grow to around 10m in height. They have an irregular, rounded shape and a wide, spreading canopy. With greyish brown, flecked bark, trees can become quite gnarled and twisted, especially when exposed, and the twigs often develop spines. This 'crabbed' appearance may have influenced its common name, 'crab apple'. The crab apple is one of the few host trees to the parasitic mistletoe, Viscum album, and trees are often covered in lichens.
Devonshire Association The Botany Section was founded in 1908 to promote the study and enjoyment of Devon’s wild plants, including bryophytes (mosses), lichens and fungi.
Crab Apple in our garden, Chulmleigh (Photo: Grant Sherman 11th October 2020)
Plantlife Wild flowers , plants and fungi are the life support for all our wildlife and their colour and character light up our landscapes. But without our help , this priceless natural heritage is in danger of being lost.
From the open spaces of our nature reserves to the corridors of government , we work nationally and internationally to raise their profile, celebrate their beauty, and to protect their future.
Royal Horticultural Society M. sylvestris is a small, rounded tree with ovate leaves and clusters of pink-tinged white flowers to 5cm across in late spring, followed by yellow-green, sometimes red-flushed fruits 2-3cm across
National Biodiveristy Network Malus sylvestris
Wikipedia Malus sylvestris, the European crab apple, is a species of the genus Malus, native to Europe. Its scientific name means "forest apple" and the truly wild tree has thorns. Wild apple has an expanded crown and often appears more like a bush than a tree. It can live 80–100 years and grow up to 10 m tall with trunk diameters of 23–45 cm. Due to its weak competitiveness and high light requirement, wild apple is found mostly at the wet edge of forests, in farmland hedges or on very extreme, marginal sites. The tree is rather rare but native to most European countries. It occurs in a scattered distribution pattern as single individuals or in small groups.