Malus coronaria, also known by the names sweet crabapple or garland crab, is a North American species of Malus (crabapple). It often is a bushy shrub with rigid, contorted branches, but frequently becomes a small tree with a broad open head. It prefers rich moist soil and is most abundant east of the Mississippi River. It reaches its greatest size in the valleys of the lower Ohio basin. Its flowering time is about two weeks later than that of the domestic apple, and its fragrant fruit clings to the branches on clustered stems long after the leaves have fallen.
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- Bark: Reddish brown, longitudinally fissured, with surface separating in narrow scales. Branchlets at first coated with thick white tomentum, later they become smooth reddish brown; they develop in their second year long, spur-like branches and sometimes absolute thorns an inch or more in length.
- Wood: Reddish brown, sapwood yellow; heavy, close-grained, not strong. Used for the handles of tools and small domestic articles. Sp. gr., 0.7048; weight of cu. ft., 43.92.
- Winter buds: Bright red, obtuse, minute. Inner scales grow with the growing shoot, become half an inch long and bright red before they fall.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, ovate, three to four inches long, one and one-half to two inches broad, obtuse, subcordate or acute at base, incisely serrate, often three-lobed on vigorous shoots, acute at apex. Feather-veined, midrib and primary veins grooved above, prominent beneath. They come out of the bud involute, red bronze, tomentose and downy; when full grown are bright dark green above, paler beneath. In autumn they turn yellow. Petioles slender, long, often with two dark glands near the middle. Stipules filiform, half an inch long, early deciduous.
- Flowers: May, June, when leaves are nearly grown. Perfect, rose-colored, fragrant, one and one-half inch to two inches across. Borne in five or six-flowered umbels on slender pedicels.
- Calyx: Urn-shaped, downy or tomentose, five-lobed; lobes slender, acute, persistent, imbricate in bud.
- Corolla: Petals five, rose colored, ob ovate, rounded above, with long narrow claws, undulate or crenelate at margin, inserted on the calyx tube, imbricate in bud.
- Stamens: Ten to twenty, inserted on the calyx tube, shorter than the petals; filaments by a partial twist forming a tube narrowed in the middle and enlarged above; anthers introrse, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally.
- Pistil: Of five carpels inserted in the bottom of the calyx tube and united into an inferior ovary; styles five; stigma capitate; ovules two in each cell.
- Fruit: Pome or apple ripening in October. Depressed-globular, an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, crowned with calyx lobes and remnant of filaments; yellow green, delightfully fragrant, surface sometimes waxy. Flesh white, delicate and charged with marlic acid. Seeds two or, by abortion, one in each cell, chestnut brown shining; cotyledons fleshy.
The apples, or crabs, are small, sour and unfit for anything but to make vinegar of. They lie under the trees all winter and acquire a yellow color. They seldom begin to rot before spring comes on.