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The Wild Apple or Crab

UK Garden Centre - Information about the Wild Apple or Crab tree

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Family Rosaceae
Malus pumila

The Apple appears to have been the subject of cultural attention from very early times. This is proved from the similarity of the equivalents for our word Apple in all the Celtic and Sclavonian languages, showing by their common origin that the fruit was of sufficient importance to have a distinctive name long before the separation of the peoples of Northern Europe.
The Wild Apple is rounded in general form and the branches spread widely when young, and droop somewhat when older. As a tree it varies in height from twenty to fifty feet, though many examples of good age still retain the dimensions of a bush. The bole is usually more or less crooked like the older branches. The brown bark is not very rough, though its numerous fissures and cracks give it a rugged appearance.
Its wood, like that of the Pear, is hard and fine-grained, but instead of having a reddish tinge, there is a tendency to brownish.
The leaves vary in shape, but are more or less oblong, smooth above, sometimes downy on the lower surface when young, and with toothed edges.
The flowers are about the same size as those of the Wild Pear, but their white petals are beautifully tinted and streaked with pink. They are clustered together with the foot-stalks of similar length, starting from a common base.
The fruit is almost spherical, and instead of the foot-stalk gradually merging into the apple, the attachment is always a depression of the latter.
In the typical form of the Wild Apple the yellow and red fruits hang by their slender stalks, and they are about an inch across, and so rich in malic acid as to be unfit for food in their natural state.
The Wild Apple is found all over the United Kingdom as far north as the Clyde, and wherever it is known to occur it is worth a special visit in May, when all its branches and shoots are rendered beautiful by the abundance of delicately tinted and fragrant flowers. It is attractive also in the autumn, when the miniature apples hang from the boughs.


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