Category Archives: Malus

Apple, Crab

[[Category:Top30]]
[[Category:Deciduous Trees]]
[[Category:Rosaceae]]
[[Category:Malus]]
[[Category:pictures needed]]

[[File:CrabAppleC.jpg|right|200px]]

”’Scientific Name”’: ”Malus sylvestris”

”’Family”’: ”Rosaceae”

”’Also known as”’: Wild apple

”’Habitat”’: Crab apple thrives best in heavy, moist, well-drained soil and areas of scrub. They grow throughout Europe.

”’Description”’: one of the ancestors of the cultivated apple (of which there are more than 6,000 varieties), it can live to up to 100 years. Mature trees grow to around 10m in height. They have an irregular, rounded shape and a wide, spreading canopy. With greyish brown, flecked bark, trees can become quite gnarled and twisted, especially when exposed, and the twigs often develop spines. This ‘crabbed’ appearance may have influenced its common name, ‘crab apple’.

The crab apple is one of the few host trees to the parasitic mistletoe, Viscum album, and trees are often covered in lichens.

”’Identifying Features”’:
* ”’Bark”’ – Greyish-brown and flecked. Can become quite gnarled and twisted with age.
* ”’Twigs”’ – Grey-brown. Can develop spines to make the tree prickly.
* ”’Buds”’ – Brown and pointed, growing on stalks, with downy hair on the edges of the scales.
* ”’Leaves”’ – Glossy, oval leaves, up to 6cm with rounded triangular teeth.
* ”’Flowers”’ – Sweet scented blossom. Clusters of pink-tinged, white flowers, 5cm across. 5 petals and many stamen.
* ”’Fruits”’ – Red, green or yellow at maturity. under 2 inches diameter. Some fall when ripe, some persist through winter.

”’Value to wildlife”’
The leaves are food for the caterpillars of many moths, including the eyed hawk-moth, green pug, Chinese character and pale tussock. The flowers provide an important source of early pollen and nectar for insects, particularly bees, and the fruit is eaten by birds, including blackbirds, thrushes and crows. Mammals, including mice, voles, foxes and badgers also eat crab apple fruit.

”’Mythology and symbolism”’
Crab apples have long been associated with love and marriage. It was said that if you throw the pips into the fire while saying the name of your love, the love is true if the pips explode. Apple wood was burned by the Celts during fertility rites and festivals, and Shakespeare makes reference to crab apples in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour Lost.

==Pictures throughout the year==

File:CrabAppleC.jpg|Crab apples
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==Uses==

The trees are often planted in commercial orchards as their long flowering period makes them excellent pollination partners for cultivated apples.
===Food===
The fruit can be roasted and served with meat or added to ales or punches. More commonly it is used to make crab apple jelly, and also as a natural source of pectin, for setting jams.
Crab apples are very sour, but the flavour improves after a frost.

==Gav Notes==
===Known hazards===
All members of this genus contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide in their seeds and possibly also in their leaves, but not in their fruits. Hydrogen cyanide is the substance that gives almonds their characteristic taste but it should only be consumed in very small quantities. Apple seeds do not normally contain very high quantities of hydrogen cyanide but, even so, should not be consumed in very large quantities. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
===Harvesting===
Late summer to early autumn. Can be directly picked from the tree or collect windfall from the floor.
Best method is to spread a sheet on the floor and shake the tree.
Crab apples are very sour, but the flavour improves after a frost.
===Potential lookalikes===
Without fruit, it could be confused with other fruit trees in the Rosaceae family.
The varieties of size, shape and colour of the fruit mean that it’s easy to confuse it with any other apple varieties, however all are edible.
In winter the edges of the crab apple bud scales have a short row of hairs.

”’Sources”’:
*Tree & Plant ID Course from Foundation Bushcraft – http://identificationmasterclass.com/
*Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malus_sylvestris
*Woodland Trust – https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/native-trees/crab-apple/
*PFAF – https://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Malus+sylvestris

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