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Malus spp.

Crab apples are small, flowering trees widespread throughout temperate areas in the northern hemisphere and a part of the genus Malus. One of the most cultivated trees, there are hundreds of cultivars of crab apples beloved for their colorful fruits, springtime blooms, and small size.


Follow Larch Lane up and just before the Stonewall Cutoff trail, two crab apples can be found. Additionally, a crab apple can be found on Hidden Spring Trail.

Crab apple leaf

Crab apple tree


History at Hadwen

It is unclear the origin of the crab apples in the Hadwen Arboretum as there are no records of them ever being planted by Hadwen and they do not show up in subsequent tree surveys until 2020. As crab apples are a popular ornamental, it is possible the present crab apples established from seeds dispersed by wind or animals.

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Detailed Species Information

Malus is a genus of small deciduous trees in the family Rosaceae, including domesticated apples and crab apples. These species are widespread throughout the northern hemisphere in temperate zones. There are hundreds of cultivars of crab apples, many of which readily crossbreed. Typically, crab apple trees reach heights of 13–39 feet (4–12 meters) with dense, wide, rounded crowns. The leaves of apple trees are typically 1–4 inches (3–10 centimeters) in length, simple, serrated, and alternately arranged on the stem. The flowers have five petals and are typically white or vivid shades of pink or red. The fruits of the crab apple are called pomes or apples, varying greatly in size, color, and taste depending on the species of crab apple.

Crab apples prefer sunny sites but are otherwise very adaptable trees, tolerating many stressful conditions such as pollution, drought, and compaction. The fruits and flowers attract many insects and birds. The fruits of the crab apple are not commonly consumed due to their highly sour taste, but in some cultures, they are eaten. Due to their small size, vibrant spring blooms, and fruits that often remain attached throughout the winter, crab apples are extremely popular ornamentals. Hundreds of cultivars of crab apple are available, many of which have been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Contact Information

Hadwen Arboretum