Pacific crab apple

Malus fusca
Pacific crab apple Pacific crab apple

A small tree or multi-stemmed shrub that grows to 12 metres tall, armed with sharp thorn-like shoots and bearing showy white flowers from mid April to early June.

Pacific crab apple leaves and flowers

Alternate, deep-green, egg-shaped leaves grow up to 10 centimetres long. The edges are toothed along the irregular lobes.

White to pink, fragrant apple blossoms in a flat-topped cluster.

Pacific crab apple leaves and fruit
Pacific crab apple bark Fruit
The yellow to purplish-red apples, 2 centimetres across, are tart but edible. After a frost, they turn brown and soft.
Where to find Pacific crab apple
It is found on lakesides and streambanks along the coast, from sea level to mid elevations. Pacific crab apple grows on Vancouver Island but not on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Pacific crab apple grows in moist, open woodlands. It presents a delightful spring sight when in bloom along the edges of river mouths and streambanks.

Where to find Pacific crab apple
The apples were an important fruit for all coastal people, who harvested them in the late summer and early fall and either ate them fresh or stored them under water. Because of their acidity, the apples did not require further preservation.

The deeply coloured wood is hard and somewhat flexible. Coastal people used it to make tool handles, bows, wedges, and digging sticks.

This is the only native apple tree in the province, but it may be mistaken for cultivated pear and apple trees that have overgrown or been abandoned.

Malus is often used for apples and Pyrus for pears. Some taxonomists group the two genera into Pyrus.

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