Crab Apple, scientifically known as Malus, is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with populations found in Europe, Asia, and North America. Remarkably, their presence in Colorado dates back to an astonishing 37.2 – 33.9 million years ago,1 as evidenced by fossils unearthed2 in the Green River Formation.

Crab Apple, I couldn’t help but wonder about this peculiar name when I first saw it in our science textbook 3. I was curious about why people would give such a strange name to this plant.

Yojay Wynn with the Crab Apple on September 14, 2023

▪ Size Approximately 1 inch in diameter
Color Red, Dark red, Deep red
▪ Shape Oval
▪ Taste Sour, little sweet
▪ Texture Crisp

Wash the picked fruits, put them in the juicer and you will get a delicious CrabApple juice.

MY TIPS ◆ Remove seeds ◆ More sugar

Yojay Wynn with the Crab Apple on October 18, 2023

The simple, ovate leaves that display serrated edges.

Yojay Wynn with the Crab Apple on October 30, 2023

On October 29th, Fort Collins experienced its first snow of this winter. The following day, all the leaves had fallen from the Crab Apple tree, but many fruits still clung to the branches, which attracted squirrels. I observed two squirrels munching on the Crab Apple fruits, and it brought a smile to my face—seeing those two little fellows enjoying their meal.

The estimate of the age of this Crab Apple tree I observed
Yojay Wynn with the Crab Apple on April 6, 2024

I have been waiting for the flowers to bloom for an entire winter, and finally, the day has arrived. They are white, with five petals, and very beautiful. The stunning display of flowers is in front of my eyes, and I am so happy!

Yojay Wynn with the Crab Apple on April 23, 2024

Why does it have the name “Crab Apple”?

  • A. Its canopy looks like ‘crabbed’ because of gnarled and twisted twigs.
  • B. Its fruit is sour and astringent, and the word “crab” implies its taste.
  • C. The shape and color of its fruit look like a crab’s pincer

Among all the possibilities of its names, through my observation, the conclusion is more inclined to be A.

Back to our textbook, they want to tell us the concept of “hybrids,” and the picture shows us an “example of beneficial hybrids.” If there is a sentence of explanation near the picture, that would be great. Such as “Crab Apple is one of the ancestors of the cultivated apple, and hybrid apple is larger and sweeter.” I think it would be explained clearly to our students who study it.

  1. MacGinitie, H. D. (1953). Fossil Plants of the Florissant Beds of Colorado. The Carnegie Institution of Washington. ↩︎
  2. Florissant Flora (Eocene of the United States).(n.d.). The Paleobiology Database. ↩︎
  3. Observing God’s World (2010, p.21). Abeka Book ↩︎

by Yojay Wynn

Guiding teacher Kayla Faulkner

Similar Posts