Identifying a crabapple tree

August 13, 2019
last modified: August 13, 2019

I have a tree growing wild in my yard (I did not plant it - I merely left it in place when I cleared the wild thicket of other trees that grew all around it). It is 25-30' tall, upright pattern with a single leader. I have thought for years it was a wild cherry because the really tall wild cherries grow everywhere by us. But I now believe, based on its fruit, that it is some type of crabapple. The tree flowers white every spring (why I kept it) and it produces fruit the size of cherries (no bigger than a dime) but this year I examined and tasted one and they crunch and taste like a tart apple.

My question: What type of crabapples grow really tall like this? In my mind, crabapples are always shorter and gnarly in their growth pattern. This one is not. But I do believe it is an apple and the leaves resemble apple more than cherry.

Comments (7)

  • lilyd74 (5b sw MI)

    If you have a couple pictures - close up and far away - and you post it to the "name that plant" forum here, you will typically get a quick answer from experts.

  • davidfromdetroit

    Here are some pics...

  • lilyd74 (5b sw MI)

    It sure does look like a crabapple to me, I think you're right. Some varieties do grow tall and straight, especially the weedy ones. It's usually the ornamental dwarf cultivars that people grow on purpose.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Yes, that's a crabapple. It will have grown skinny if it was surrounded by other trees and bushes.

  • sautesmom Sacramento

    It might not even be a variety, it might have been a seed volunteer dropped by a bird. Is there a graft line?
    Carla in Sac

  • davidfromdetroit

    Oh I am confident it is a seed dropped by a bird. It was among a thicket of buckthorn, mulberry, wild cherry, grape vines, etc. I cleared all that nasty stuff but spared this one tree because of its beautiful flowers. But you are right, it is there accidentally and there is no graft line.

    I guess I just thought that even trees dropped by birds could be roughly identified to a specific variety.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Plants that generate only from seed seldom are identified as a specific cultivar....they rarely come true to type. This is even more so the case with any hybrids, like most ornamental crabapples or other fruit trees. Toss the seeds of your Honeycrisp apple in the ground and you'll get an apple tree..........it just won't be a Honeycrisp apple tree.

    There are a few species of crab that are native to North America, so it could be one of those if no domesticated trees nearby. But the tree would only be an example of thc species - no specific variety or cultivar.

    davidfromdetroit thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

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