Crabapples (Malus species) include about 25 species of deciduous or rarely half-evergreen trees or shrubs native to the temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. They vary from a large shrub-like plant, 6 to 8 feet, to a medium tree, 15 to 35 feet. The branches are slender and upright. Flowers are showy and vary in color from white to pink to deep red. Blooms appear from mid April to early June depending on location. The apples produced are either red or yellow and vary in size from 1/4 inch diameter up to 3/4 inch.
Malus mandshurica (Maxim.) Kom., Siberian crabapple, is a tall, spreading species, 25 to 35 feet in height, best suited to large, open areas. Profuse, fragrant flowers appear in May. The fruit, which can range in color from red to yellow, ripens from August to November. This species is often used in beach gardens which offer some protection from salt and wind.
Malus coronaria (L.) P. Mill., sweet crab, grows upright to as a shrub 15 to 25 feet tall, with pink flowers which appear in mid-March. The large fruit is used as a main wildlife food.
Malus floribunda Sieb. ex Van Houtte, Japanese flowering crab, reaches a mature height of 20 to 25 feet and blooms heavily in May. The blooms are deep pink, fading to white. The red and yellow fruit stays on the branches into the winter, providing a food source for wildlife.
Malus sargeniti Rehd., Sargent crab, is a bushy, densely branched shrub, usually twice as wide as it is tall. Its white flowers bloom profusely in mid May and are followed by deep red fruit, which remains on the branches until December. In addition to the general uses listed above, Sargent crab can be effectively used as a pruned hedge.
Malus sieboldii (Regel) Rehd., toringa crab, ranges in size from a shrub to a small tree. Its flowers are white and single, and its reddish yellow fruit hangs in clusters from the branches.
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