Malus sylvestris Mill. - Crab apple, European wild apple.

Taxonomic position.

Family Rosaceae Juss. genus Malus Mill.

Morphology and biology.

Rather small tree up to 10 m tall with spreading crown and thorny branches, sometimes growing shrub-like. Leaves up to 10 cm long, elliptic with attenuate acuminate apex, serrately dentate at margins, dark green, glossy, pubescent when coming out, then glabrous. Flowers gathered on apices of shortened shoots in lax corymbs. Sepals long-acuminate. Flowers large, up to 4 cm diameter. Petals white, white-pink when in buds, rounded, pubescent at outer side. Fruits (pomes, apples) up to 2 cm diameter, globose or globose-ovoid, yellow-green, often reddening on one side.
Entomophilous. Ornitho- and zoochore. Propagates by seeds, root and summer cuttings. Flowers in May, fruits mature in August . September. 2n=34.


Europe (including European Russia from Karelia to Belgorod Region), Crimea.


Mesophyte. Photophilous. Occurs in solitary specimens in broad-leaved and coniferous-broad-leaved forests, more often in fringes or forest glades, sometimes in river flood-plains. Reaches better development when growing solitary in exposed habitats, on loamy and sandy loamy soils rich in humus.

Use and economic value.

Food (fruit), ornamental, melliferous. Fruits are used to prepare kvass, compotes, apple vinegar. Such cultivars as 'Antonovka', 'Titovka', 'Aport', 'Osennee Polosatoe' ('Streifling') and others are created with participation of this species. Used as parent stock.


Brezhnev DD, Korovina ON. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants of the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. P.238. (In Russian).
Gubanov IA., Kiseleva KV., Novikov VS., Tikhomirov VN. 2003. Illustrated Manual of the Middle Russia Plants. V.2. Moscow: KMK. 665 p. (In Russian).
Sokolov SI., Svjaseva OA., Kubli VA. 1980. Ranges of trees and shrubs of the USSR. V.2. Leningrad: Nauka. P.61-62. (In Russian).

© I.G.Chukhina

© Photo by I.G.Chukhina

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