What Does Crab Apples Look Like?

Crab apples add color and vibrancy to any garden, and there are various varieties to choose from. Some are edible while others contain cyanogenic glycosides which your body turns into cyanide! Beware though as this could pose a health risk!

Prairifire crab apple features pure white fragrant blossoms in spring and small orange-red fruits which linger well into autumn. The leaves emerge purplish before turning bronzy green with subdued fall hues.


Crab apples make a delicious ingredient in jellies and fruit leather dishes, thanks to their higher levels of malic acid that produce stronger flavors than their domesticated counterparts. Some varieties are sweeter while others more tart, all boasting the tanginess necessary for withstanding high heat cooking temperatures.

Crab apple trees make an elegant addition to any garden, offering colorful flowers and fruits that persist into winter. Their flowers and fruits may resemble those of other wild species, so it is crucial that before harvesting or eating any specimen from one, its identity is confirmed before doing so. A foraging guide or local forager can assist with this; for your own safety it may also be wise to consult an expert before eating wild food yourself.

Crab apple trees tend to be free from serious diseases, requiring little pruning in order to remain visually appealing. Reshaping new shoots during summer will keep their canopy more compact and prevent overcrowding. Dead branches should be pruned as soon as they appear; however, doing this in damp weather could increase pest infestation and disease spread.

Many crab apple varieties, such as ‘Butterball’ and ‘Comtesse de Paris’, feature fragrant white or pink blooms that develop into vibrant pome fruits. Other varieties, like Royal Raindrops and Prairie Fire have magenta-pink blossoms and fruits with reddish-pink hues; their foliage offers stunning combinations of yellow, apricot bronze, and purple shades in autumn.


Crab apples may not be as juicy as their domesticated counterparts, but they make fantastic pies and preserves due to their higher levels of malic acid. Plus, their tart flavoring complements well any recipe calling for apples in general!

Crab apple flowers are fragrant flowers ranging from white to pink or carmine hues. They often appear before leaves emerge and form beautiful, spherical clusters. Some varieties feature double blooms while others only possess single blossoms.

Crab apple fruits are small and typically feature deep yellow, orange or red hues. Many varieties are self-fertile – meaning you do not require another apple tree nearby for pollination purposes – making one crab apple tree capable of pollinating numerous culinary varieties and other types of fruit trees.

Gardeners increasingly favor trees with vibrant foliage, such as crab apple varieties. Some, such as Prairie Fire and Summer Wonder varieties, feature leaves with deep red or purple shades that remain beautiful throughout summer and into fall.

Although crab apple varieties prefer full sun conditions, they will also tolerate partial shade conditions. When planting young plants for the first time in spring or fall to give their roots time to establish themselves before summer arrives and puts too much stress on them, give a thorough watering when planting and continue watering regularly after their roots have established themselves.

Crab apples in autumn at RHS Garden Hyde Hall.


Crab apples make a wonderful choice for modern gardens with their smaller size and suitability to more restricted spaces. Their spring flowers, autumn-colored foliage, and fruit provide interest throughout all three seasons of the year.

Leaves start off light emerald green in springtime before deepening to an intense shade over summer and eventually dropping to golden yellow by autumn. Some cultivars even feature variegated leaves of different shades of yellow, orange or red!

Crab Apple Fruit is round in shape with an average diameter of less than 4cm and hangs from trees all winter long. Coloration ranges from golden-yellow hues through scarlet red hues all the way to pinkish or white hues; depending on where they grow in their habitat.

Crab apple fruit provides anti-oxidants and phytochemicals in small doses; however, its seeds can be toxic when consumed in quantity (1).

If your species of tree produces toxic seeds, remove the fruit as soon as it ripens from its tree and use it for various purposes such as making syrup or jelly from it, adding tart flavor to pancakes recipes, providing birds with nutrition or adding tart notes in pancakes dishes. Remember to cut these fruits so as to hide their seeds – otherwise their consumption could result in nausea and vomiting!


Crab apples, the wild ancestor of commercial apples we buy at stores, come in an astonishing array of sizes, colors and flavors that vary immensely in size, flavor, size, shape and texture. Some can be too sour and bitter for consumption while others contain seeds with toxic cyanogenic glycosides that convert to cyanide when consumed raw.

Crab apple trees offer numerous advantages: they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, bloom each spring, produce colorful fall fruit, and offer beautiful winter leaves displays. Furthermore, they’re hardy and drought tolerant – not to mention more natural-looking than many large ornamental apple and pear trees found throughout most landscapes.

Many crab apple varieties are resistant to diseases that threaten apple trees, such as cedar-apple rust and fire blight, making them great choices for home gardens. Some, like Profusion, feature magenta pink blooms with bronze green foliage in summer that makes jellies excellent! Others work better as specimen or hedge plants, such as Hopa Flowering Crab which grows slower and can survive up to Zone 2a hardiness.

This variety has fragrant pink-rose flowers and bright, green foliage which turns yellow-bronzy red in fall. Additionally, it’s one of the toughest varieties around with good resistance against disease except apple scab.


Crab apple varieties vary in their susceptibility to various diseases. Fire blight can kill trees if left uncontrolled while cedar apple rust infects leaves, fruit and flower buds; both require special measures in order to control with an antifungicide treatment plan.

Aphids (Aphis spp) are soft-bodied sucking insects with pear-shaped bodies that feed off of fresh new growth to extract sap for sucking. Aphid infestation can severely hamper crab apple tree health by stunting and distorting branches as well as producing stunted or bent branches. Spraying infested leaves with strong water spray every other day for three days should dislodge any pests present.

As with other apple trees, crab apples may also fall victim to the fungal disease scab, characterized by dark blotches on leaves that spread as they develop, eventually leading to them wilting and falling prematurely. Fungus invades fruit as well, producing circular spots on fruit with rough surfaces before it rots prematurely before reaching maturity. Applying garden sulfur fungicide throughout spring and early summer can reduce its severity significantly.

Some crab apples are resistant to scab, such as Harvest Gold and Sutyzam varieties. By selecting disease-resistant varieties and spraying trunks, stems, branches, leaves and fruit with fungicide, the incidence of scab on susceptible crab apples may be reduced significantly. Good sanitation practices must also be observed; for instance removing and discarding infected debris from around their tree each spring and collecting fallen flowers fruits twigs leaves throughout their growing season are all key practices that help ensure healthy trees.


Crab apples make an eye-catching addition to any garden. Bursting into bloom every spring with lovely petals, they add vibrant splashes of color throughout the year. Their autumn fruits make delicious jelly or add tart notes to apple sauce recipes – not forgetting their easy growing characteristics such as espaliers, containers or hedges!

Pruning a crab apple tree is essential in controlling its shape and eliminating dead and diseased branches from its canopy. Pruning should take place either late winter or early spring before new buds start forming, in order to minimize damage and ensure you don’t accidentally cut off or damage any new growth. As with other plants, crab apples require regular pruning in order to remain healthy and productive. Pruning should include trimming any fast-growing vertical shoots near their bases called suckers and water shoots that sprout from the ground near the base – such as suckers and water shoots – which could potentially become competing trunks that compete with the main branch and result in its death. Furthermore, any branches showing signs of disease like fire blight should also be pruned back. These branches appear as being burnt-looking ash colored branches which will eventually spread further than your plant can tolerated!

Pruning can also improve air circulation and help to prevent fungal diseases from arising in your crab apple tree, keeping it looking neat and tidy! Plus it keeps things neatly organised!

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