Crab Apple - Malus sylvestris


    Shrub or tree to 10 metres. Flowers pinkish or white 30 to 40 mm in rounded clusters, fragrant. Fruit the familiar apple but smaller than the domestic apple, usually yellow or yellow/green. Under surfaces of leaves and the petioles are hairless.

    Similar Species

    Orchard Apple (Malus pumila) is similar but has hairy leaf undersurfaces and petioles and larger fruit, whereas Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris) has glabrous leaves, small fruits (often yellow) and occasional thorns.

    Identification difficulty
    Recording advice

    Photos help with confirming an ID, particularly if they show the small yellow fruits, but you should also add a comment to note if the leaves and petioles are glabrous (hairless).


    Woods and hedgerows.

    When to see it

    May to June.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Quite common in most of Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 494 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map