Pacific Crabapple

Bud Burst is under way as the leaves are emerging on the single Pacific Crabapple currently growing here in Beaver Willows Nature Habitat. Soon this tree will have company.  Eight treelets are waiting to be planted in line with our established tree. These are part of the plantings we received from our Clean Water Services Utilitylast month. The weather is good, and wetland flooding has subsided so planting looks very promising this week.

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Pacific Crabapple Malus fusca is a sturdy, deciduous, native shrub or small tree.In shrub form, it is a multi-stemmed plant that grows to 8 – 10 feet.  As a small tree, the Pacific Crabapple can reach heights of 15-25 feet. It has sharp spur-shoots. Older trees display deeply fissured bark.

Leaves are alternate, pointed at the ends, with lance or egg-shape that are toothed with irregular lobes.As fall foliage, they turn showy red or bright orange-yellow. Leaf length is about 10 centimeters.

Flowers are fragrant, pink-white in color, and look similar to those of domesticated apple trees.

Fruits stay green well into the summer and turn yellow- brownish as they ripen between September and October.The fruit grows in clusters and is edible, however, the taste is a bit tart.

Ecology of the Malus fusca is actually quite broad. It can be planted on a wide variety of sites. Robust growth occurs in moist woods, edges of standing water and flowing water, wetlands, upper beaches, and on the fringes of estuaries. The Pacific Crabapple tolerates drought, and grows well at low to middle elevations.

Ethnobotany Northwest Coastal Native-Americans have had a particularly illustrious relationship with the Pacific Crabapple tree. I highly encourage you to click on the following blossom to access “Pacific Crabapple Tells Its Story.” Discover interesting facts about how Indigenous peoples have depended on the Pacific Crabapple.

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Click blossom to read-
Pacific Crabapple Tells Its Story

8 comments

  1. My mother-in-law had to stop making crabapple jelly when the trees beside their driveway grew too tall. Now the White-tailed Deer eat the windfalls.

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      1. Not at this point, I’m afraid; they’ve simply reached their full height of 20 feet, same as the shads (serviceberry) that my father-in-law used to nibble on his way to the car. E.g.’s parents are starting to consider getting a smaller home now, anyway; we’re all worn out from a winter of battling their 250-foot drive (and that with a ploughing service!).
        No, the thing I found interesting about your entry here was the fact that crabapples come in shrub form! I’ve only ever seen them as ornamental trees. E.g.’s mum would have liked a crabapple bush; I bet she would have planted it next to the still well-behaved, prolific gooseberry.

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        1. We share same trees. Crabapple and Serviceberry are native trees here; are they also native to New Brunswick? We planted four new crabapples in the Nature Habitat yesterday. You’d approve of their height… about 16 inches tall!! It will be a while before an fruit is produced, though.

          Will the latest Nor’easter impact you? My sister lives in Pennsylvania and is expecting snow from the storm on Tuesday. She’s just about fed up with snow… and they’ve had fewer feet than you. I’m sure glad you will have your get-away soon!

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          1. Your crabapples are the perfect height! I’ll tuck a few in beside the rhubarb. 😀

            A flip through the USDA Plants Database tells me that New Brunswick has two introduced species of crabapple, Malus prunifolia and M. baccata. Loads of serviceberries, though; I knew of three species, but apparently there’s eight! The Database classifies all serviceberries as native.

            Yes, after introductory drumrolls since Sunday, Environment Canada finally posted a blizzard warning and snowfall guesstimate this morning at 05:00. Maybe twelve to sixteen inches for us, starting early tomorrow. My impression is that the entire Eastern Seaboard has been worn out by this winter’s white stuff. I was struck by an entry of Shaina’s yesterday, though. She’s a park ranger in northern California (Middle Of Everywhere — it’s on my blogroll). She said this winter has felt particularly long because everyone has been waiting for the rain that never came.

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            1. Shaina’s star photography is astonishing! I took a peek at her blog.

              Yes, water is a BIG issue in California. Last October we took a road trip down to AZ for artist Jim’s 90th BD, Took I-5 on the trek to his home.We became vividly aware of the water problems. All down the corridor are signboards, political mostly, that relate to water issues. Everyone is affected from municipal to agricultural.

              I follow drycrikjournal. If you want to feel the heart and soul of a rancher who is facing dramatic effects from the drought, his poetry and photography are very impacting. Over the course of the past months of reading his entries, I get the same reaction to his thoughts as I recall feeling after reading John Steinbeck novels.

              I hope you are well stocked with hot chocolate and soup. Stay warm, Jane

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