The crab apple is also called the European wild apple. The botanical species name is Malus sylvestris. The European wild apple is in principle an ancestor of the plantation apple. The large deciduous shrub can reach heights of 5-10 meters and widths of 2-4 meters. The scale bark can be described as gray-brown and longitudinally fissured.
Pollination and foliage
Malus sylvestris is monoecious. In contrast to cross-pollination, insect pollination turns out to be particularly relevant. In particular, insects of the order Diptera and Hymenoptera are responsible for such processes. Some types of bees can be cited as examples at this point. The flowers carry nectar. These are disk flowers. In addition, the flowers come in a pink and white color. The alternately arranged leaves are egg-shaped and have a serrated leaf edge in addition to a simple leaf structure.
Malus sylvestris is happy about a deep clay soil rich in bases. This can be either gritty or sandy. The optimal pH value should be in an alkaline to slightly alkaline range. The European wild apple is fairly tolerant of lime. On the other hand, Malus sylvestris behaves completely differently with an extremely significant N content. This should be avoided as much as possible, as well as waterlogging and drought.
The crab apple is common in Europe and the Middle East. However, the eastern limit of distribution cannot be defined in more detail. The fact is, however, that Malus sylvestris has advanced in the Alps to heights of up to 1,100 meters.
Malus sylvestris prefers light and heat and can of course be used for growing apples. However, the fruits are not suitable for consumption in their raw state. Therefore, they should be processed into corresponding end products such as jelly. The European wild apple therefore does not necessarily have to be used in agriculture. Malus sylvestris can thus serve as a nutrient for insects in forest ecosystems and ensure increased ecological diversity. As an example, light floodplain forests are mentioned at this point. Furthermore, the crabapple can also perform such services as a hedge in gardens.
Richly branched shrub or tree up to 10 m high,
Crown round, broader than high;
Flowers: approx. 4 cm, outside pink inside white;
Fruit: round, approx. 2 cm wide and sour;
prefers calcareous soils, loves lots of sunshine,
to be found especially at the edges of the forest.