2017

 
 

The Southern crabapple, which is Malus angustifolia, is a species of crabapple native to the damp forests of eastern North America. Whereas crabapples are popular ornamentals, many are limited by soil type or climate. Southern crabapple, on the other hand, is extremely versatile with a  natural range that runs from the Great Lakes in the northern United States to the Gulf of Mexico in the south. This is excellent adaptability, especially to heat. Aside from its practicality though, it is a beautiful tree, especially when viewed in a naturalistic setting, though it is quite striking even as a specimen. One of it chief assets is its bloom. In early spring Southern crabapple produces an abundance of  bloom in the most delicate shades of pink. But most surprisingly of all, these blooms have an exquisite fragrance, which is quite rare for most of the ornamental crabapples. This fragrance combined with the softness of the pink bloom, will proclaim spring better than any other tree.

Southern crabapple leaves are medium green above and light green below, small and slightly toothed and turn a pleasant yellow in fall. The yellow fruits are small, up to an inch in diameter, and appear in autumn. From these astringent fruits comes a superb jelly: sweet, tart and loaded with flavor. But if you're not into jelly making, don't worry, the local wildlife will gladly consume every one of them.

Southern crabapple is a small tree, only reaching 20 feet with a spread of 15 to 20 feet. It is tolerant of a variety of soils, including those periodically flooded and it will thrive in sun or semi-shade, though fruiting is best in full sun. Southern crabapple grows across most of the US and would do well across the UK, New Zealand, and much of Australia. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

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Southern crabapple

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