MALUS: APPLES AND BLOSSOM AND FRUIT
Beautiful Trees and Shrubs for Gardens
The Apples and Crab Apples (or Crabs) are deciduous small trees and shrubs of the Northern Hemisphere. From one kind, Malus sylvcstris, native of Europe and western Asia, has been developed, by selection and crossbreeding, all the varieties of orchard Apples and most of the Crab Apples cultivated for their edible fruits. Malus is the Latin name for the Apple tree. The genus belongs in the Rose family, Rosaceae. For the cultivation of orchard Apples, see Apple.
Among the species ol Malus and their hybrids and varieties cultivated primarily for their blooms, are many of the loveliest of all flowering trees. They are suitable for both large and small gardens. Many assume rich foliage colors in autumn, and quite a number are attractive in fruit. The true species can be raised from seed, but this is a lengthy process compared with building or grafting onto the stocks usually employed for orchard Apples. Varieties and hybrids must, of course, be propagated by the latter methods, as they do not come true from seed.
Soil Requirements and Pruning. The ornamental Crabs are not very exacting about soil requirements, but the best results arc obtained in various kinds of loam, from light to heavy, and even clay. They are among the best flowering trees and shrubs for planting on alkaline (limestone) soils, and there the fruit usually colors very well.
Provided they have been regularly transplanted in the nursery, and long roots have been pruned, Lhey will transplant with masses of fibrous roots, and no difficulty will be found in their re-establishment. Transplanting may be carried out in fall or early spring. A mulch of leaves, decayed manure or compost placed over the soil the first summer will be an advantage.
Occasional attention to pruning will be necessary. With the more vigorous kinds, a definite length of trunk should be cleared of branches, and in all kinds the heads should be kept fairly open to admit light and air. This pruning may be carried out as soon as the flowers are over, after the fall of the fruit or in late winter or in spring.
The Common Apple. In its wild form, the Common Apple, Malus sylvestris, bears attractive flowers in spring, and these are followed by small green or reddish-green sour fruits. It is very effective in bloom. There are numerous varieties and hybrids between this and other kinds that are grown for their flowers and decorative fruits. These are increased by budding or grafting on the stocks used for Apples, the work being carried out in the same way and at the same time.
Crab Apples For Jelly. There is a fine group of varieties or hybrids of M. sylvestris that produce large and showy fruits, all of which can be used for making jelly. Good ones are Dolgo, Young America, Hyslop, Hopa and Columbia, These trees are also attractive in bloom.
The Remarkable Red-Vein or Purple Crab. M. sylvestris Niedzwetzkyana is a very distinct tree with large, reddish-purple flowers, large reddish-purple fruits and purplish leaves: the purplish color is also present in the wood and roots. It is attractive both in flower and fruit and is said to grow wild in the Caucasus and southwestern Siberia. Several handsome hybrids have been raised between this and other kinds.
Showy Red-flowered Hybrid Crabs. M. purpurea is a hybrid between M. sylvestris Niedwetzkyana and M. atrosanguinea. It is a very beautiful tree with dark purplish-green leaves, rose-crimson llowers and red fruits. This is an excellent kind for both large and small gardens and is very effective during late April and early May. A variety with deep red flowers is M. purpurea Eleyi. M. purpurea aldenhamensis has purplish leaves, deep-red flowers and red fruits. The best of all is M. purpurea Lemoinei, with its profusion of rich purplish-crimson Howers and bronzy foliage.
The Southern Crab Apple is M. angustifolia, a very fragrant-flowered kind that is found wild from Virginia to Florida and Missouri. Its blooms are pink or rose colored, about 1 in. or less across, and its yellow-green fruits are about 1 in. in diameter.
The Siberian Crab. M. baccata, the Siberian Crab, grows into a tree 25-30 ft. high with a large head of branches. It is improved by being trained as a tree with several feet of clean trunk. The white or slightly rose-flushed llowers are produced with great freedom in May, and are followed by round hard fruits, in. in diameter, that are red and yellow when ripe, and often remain on the trees throughout winter. The flowers are very fragrant. The fruits can be used for jelly. It is a native of Siberia, Manchuria and northern China.
Many varieties of the Siberian Crab Apple have been described. Among the more important are M. baccata variety columnaris, a tree of very upright growth, which is a rare character among Crab Apples; M. baccata variety Jackii, which has glossy red fruits and is one of the best of the Siberian Crab Apples; and M. baccata mandschurica, which is the earliest of all Crab Apples to bloom.
The Garland Crab Apple. M. coronaria, which grows wild from New York to Ontario and southward to Alabama and Missouri, is known as the Garland Crab Apple and sometimes as the Wild Sweet Crab. It grows to about 30 ft. high and has pink flowers that fade to white as they mature. The blooms measure about 1 in. across and the yellowish fruits (sour to the taste) are 1 in. in diameter. A number of varieties of this species have been described, including Charlottae and Nieuwlandiana, both double-flowered kinds.
The Showy Crab Apple. M. floribunda is possibly a native of Japan or China or may be of hybrid origin. It is one of the finest ornamental Crabs. It forms a large shrub or small tree and attains a height of 25 ft. or more. Its flowers are pink or deep rose, fading to white as they mature. They are about 1/4 in. in diameter. The red fruits measure about 1/3 in. in diameter.
Malus Halliana, sometimes called the Hall Crab Apple, is a native of China. It is an attractive kind that at maturity is a large bush or small tree 15-18 ft. tall. The blooms are deep rose-pink, the leaves purplish. The fruits are purple and about 1/8 in. across, and not particu larly ornamental. A very beautiful double-flowered variety is M. Halliana variety Parkmanii. Its blooms, each of which has about 15 petals, are carried in drooping clusters.
The Tea Crab Apple. M. hupehensis, formerly known as M. theifera, is a small, vase-shaped tree with stiff branches that is a native of eastern Asia. Its blooms are white or pale pink and are delightfully fragrant. They are succeeded by redflushed, greenish-yellow fruits that are about 1/3 in. in diameter.
The Prairie Crab Apple is M. ionensis, which grows wild from Indiana to Minnesota and Missouri. The double-flowered variety named M. ionensis plena, Bechtel’s Crab, is most commonly grown. These kinds attain a height of 20-30 ft. and have white or pale pink blooms. The fruits are greenish. Bechtel’s Crab is very handsome and late-blooming.
A Shrubby Kind. The smallest of all Crab Apples is M. Sargentii. This native of Japan does not grow taller than 6-8 ft., is low, bushy and much branched. Its flowers are pure white and are borne in great profusion. The fruits are about 1/2 in. in diameter and are dark red. In fall the foliage turns yellow or orange yellow. This is a most valuable kind for small gardens.
Some Other Good Crab Apples. Among other decorative Crab Apples that are well worthy of planting are M. prunifolia, which has white blooms and yellow or red fruits and is a native of eastern Asia that becomes a small tree; M. Sieboldii, the Toringo Crab Apple, a Japanese shrub 15 ft. tall with blush or pink flowers and red or yellowish fruits; M. spectabilis, probably a native of China, to 25 ft. tall, with large pink flowers and yellow fruits; M. spectabilis variety Riversii, similar but with large pink double flowers; M. toringoides, a most lovely Chinese kind that forms a shrub or small tree up to 25 ft. tall and has clusters of white or pinkish blooms and red-checked, yellow fruits about 1/2 in. in diameter (this is one of the most decorative kinds when in fruit). M. Zumi, which originated in Japan, may be a hybrid; it grows to 20 ft. tall or somewhat higher and has blooms that are pink when in bud but open white. The fruits, which are usually borne profusely, are red and about 1/2 in. in diameter.
A Handsome Hybrid. M. Arnoldiana is a reported hybrid between M. floribunda and M. baccata. It has much merit as an ornamental kind. It becomes a large shrub or small tree up to about 25 ft. tall. Its blooms are at first pink but fade to white as they mature. The fruits are larger than those of M. floribunda and are yellow rather than red.
The Carmine Crab Apple, M. atrosanguinea, is one of the most handsome. It is a hybrid between M. Halliana and M. Sieboldii. The Carmine Crab Apple becomes a large shrub or small tree and bears a profusion of rosy purple blooms that do not fade to white as they age. The fruits are red and not very showy. This Crab Apple has very dark green foliage.
Red Jade, a seedling of Exzellenz Thiel (a selected form of a hybrid of M. prunifolia pendula and M. floribunda), has drooping branches, blush-white flowers and a profusion of small red fruits.
Brilliant Autumn-tinted Leaves. M. Tschonoskii is a Japanese tree, growing 30-40 ft. high, producing white flowers and small orange and red fruits. Its best time, however, is in autumn, for the leaves turn brilliant red and orangescarlet before they fall.
Other notable kinds are M. kansuensis, white flowers and red fruits; and M. yunnanensis, up to 40 ft. tall, with large clusters of white, pinktinted flowers.