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"Wild apple" redirects here. In Australia, this may refer to the unrelated Pouteria eerwah.
Malus – Apples and Crabapples
Malus floribunda (Japanese crabapple)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Maloideae
Tribe: Maleae
Genus: Malus
Tourn. ex L.

Malus angustifolia—Southern Crab
Malus asiatica
Malus baccata—Siberian Crabapple
Malus bracteata
Malus brevipes
Malus coronaria—Sweet Crabapple
Malus domestica—Orchard Apple
Malus florentina
Malus floribunda—Japanese Crabapple
Malus formosana
Malus fusca—Oregon Crabapple, Pacific Crabapple
Malus glabrata
Malus glaucescens
Malus halliana
Malus honanensis
Malus hopa
Malus hupehensis—Chinese Crabapple
Malus ioensis—Prairie Crab
Malus kansuensis
Malus lancifolia
Malus micromalus—Midget Crabapple
Malus prattii
Malus prunifolia
Malus pumila—Paradise apple
Malus rockii
Malus sargentii
Malus sieboldii
Malus sieversii—Asian Wild Apple or Almaty Apple
Malus sikkimensis
Malus spectabilis
Malus sublobata
Malus sylvestris—European Wild Apple
Malus toringoides
Malus transitoria
Malus trilobata
Malus tschonoskii
Malus yunnanensis

Malus (pronounced /ˈmeɪləs/),[1] the apples, is a genus of about 30–35 species of small deciduous trees or shrubs in the family Rosaceae. Other studies go as far as to say it includes 55 species[2] including the domesticated Orchard Apple, or Table apple as it used to be called (M. domestica, derived from M. sieversii). The other species and subspecies are generally known as "wild apples", "crab apples", "crabapples" or "crabs".

Malus sikkimensis fruit
Winter Red Flesh, an edible crab variety producing intense red jelly
Crabapple fruit are mostly red, but some, such as this cultivar 'Golden Hornet', are yellow.

The genus is native to the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere, in Europe, Asia and North America.

Apple trees are small, usually 4–12 m tall when full grown. The leaves are 3–10 cm long, positioned opposite from each other. They have a simple shape with a saw-tooth edge. The flowers come from corymbs, and have five petals, which may be white, pink or red, with usually red stamens that produce lots of pollen, and an ovary which is below them. Flowering takes place in the spring after 50–80 growing degree days (this varies a lot according to subspecies and cultivar). Apples need to be pollinated from one tree to another by insects (typically bees, which freely visit the flowers for both nectar and pollen). All are unable to pollinate themselves, and (with the exception of a few specially developed cultivars) self-pollination is impossible, making pollinating insects required.

Uses[change | change source]

Ripe crabapple fruit

For Malus sylvestris domestica, see Apple. The fruit of the other species is not an important crop in most areas because they are very sour and (in some species) very like wood, and are rarely eaten raw for this reason. However, crabapples are an excellent source of pectin, and their juice can be made into a ruby-coloured jelly.[3] Some kinds of crab apples make good applesauce.

Crabapples are widely grown as trees for the pleasure of their appearance, grown for their beautiful flowers or fruit. There are cultivars selected for these qualities and for resistance to disease.

Some crab apples are used as rootstocks for domestic apples to stand up to cold or drought.[4]

They are also used as tree for pollinating food apple trees in apple orchards. Varieties of crab apple are selected to bloom at the same time as the apple trees in an orchard, and the crabs are planted every sixth or seventh tree, or limbs of a crab tree are grafted onto some of the apple trees. See also Fruit tree pollination.

Because of the many blossoms and small sized fruit, crab apples are popular for use in bonsai. Because the trees are small due to the needs of the hobby, but still show the abundant fruit bearing of full-sized crab apples, it is important to thin out fruit so that trees do not stress themselves.

Apple wood "makes a wonderfully luxurious firewood with a lovely scent [smell], and smoke from an apple wood fire gives a most excellent flavour to smoked foods," [5] including Applewood cheese.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. Phipps, J.B. et al. (1990). "A checklist of the subfamily Maloideae (Rosaceae)". Can. J. Bot. 68: 2209. doi:10.1139/b90-288 .
  3. Rombauer, I.; Becker, M. R., & Becker, E. (2002) [2002]. All About Canning & Preserving (The Joy of Cooking series). New York: Scribner. p. 72. ISBN 0-7432-1502-8 .
  4. Cornell University, Department of Horticulture Apple Tree Rootstocks Ecogardening Factsheet #21, Summer 1999
  5. Fraser, Ana. "Traditional Uses of Wood." 22 Aug 2005. 17 July 2008.

References[change | change source]