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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordoo: Rosales

Familia: Rosaceae
Subfamilia: Amygdaloideae
Tribus: Maleae
Subtribus: Malinae
Genus: Malus
Sectiones: M. sect. Chloromeles – M. sect. Docyniopsis – M. sect. Eriolobus – M. sect. Gymnomeles – M. sect. Malus – M. sect. Sorbomalus – M. sect. Yunnanenses

Intersectional nothospecies: M. × adstringens – M. × asiatica – M. × atrosanguinea – M. × dawsoniana – M. × platycarpa – M. × purpurea – M. × riversicarnea – M. × robusta – M. × scheideckeri – M. × soulardii – M. × sublobata

Malus Mill. (1754)

Type species: M. sylvestris Mill.


Chloromeles (Decne.) Decne., Fl. Serres 23: 156. 1881.
Type species: M. angustifolia (Aiton) Michx.
Eriolobus (DC.) M.Roem., Fam. Nat. Syn. Monogr. 3: 104, 216. 1847.
Type species: E. trilobatus (Labill. ex Poir.) M.Roem.

Species overview

M. adstringens M. angustifolia – M. baccata – M. baoshanensis – M. brevipes – M. coronaria – M. crescimannoi – M. domestica – M. doumeri – M. florentina – M. floribunda – M. fusca – M. halliana – M. honanensis – M. hupehensis – M. ioensis – M. kansuensis – M. komarovii – M. leiocalyca – M. maerkangensis – M. mandshurica – M. melliana – M. muliensis – M. ombrophila – M. orientalis – M. orthocarpa – M. prattii – M. prunifolia – M. pumila – M. sargentii – M. sieversii – M. sikkimensis – M. spectabilis – M. sylvestris – M. toringo – M. toringoides – M. transitoria – M. trilobata – M. tschonoskii – M. yunnanensis – M. zhaojiaoensis

Nothospecies: M. × adstringens – M. × arnoldiana – M. × astracanica – M. × atrosanguinea – M. × dawsoniana – M. × eleyi – M. × denboeri – M. × gloriosa – M. × hartwigii – M. × heterophylla – M. × magdeburgensis – M. × micromalus – M. × platycarpa – M. × purpurea – M. × riversicarnea – M. × robusta – M. × scheideckeri – M. × soulardii – M. × sublobata – M. × zumi
M. adstringens - M. angustifolia - M. arnoldiana - M. ca - M. halliana - M. x - M. sylvestris


Miller, P. 1754. Gard. Dict. Abr., ed. 4.

Vernacular names
العربية: تفاح
авар: Гӏеч
azərbaycanca: Alma
башҡортса: Алмағас
беларуская (тарашкевіца): Яблыня
беларуская: Яблыня
brezhoneg: Avalenn
català: Pomera
čeština: jabloň
dansk: Æble-slægten
Deutsch: Äpfel
dolnoserbski: Jabłušcyna
Esperanto: Pomarbo
eesti: Õunapuu
فارسی: سیب
suomi: Omenapuut
Nordfriisk: Aapelbuumer
français: Pommier
galego: Maceira
hrvatski: Jabuke
hornjoserbsce: Jabłučina
magyar: Alma, almafa
հայերեն: Խնձորենի
italiano: Melo
日本語: リンゴ属
ქართული: ვაშლი
한국어: 사과나무속
лакку: Гьивч
Līvõ kēļ: Umārzpūd
lietuvių: Obelis
latviešu: Ābeles
мокшень: Марлю
кырык мары: Олмаву
эрзянь: Умарина
Nedersaksies: Appel
Plattdüütsch: Appels
norsk: Epleslekten
Nouormand: Pommyi
Ирон: Фæткъуыбæлас
polski: jabłoń
português: Macieira
română: Mar
русский: Яблоня
davvisámegiella: Eppelmuorat
Simple English: Malus
slovenčina: jabloň
Soomaaliga: Tufaax
svenska: Aplar
Kiswahili: Mtofaa
Tagalog: Alimangong mansanas
Türkçe: Çiçek elması
татарча/tatarça: Алмагач
удмурт: Улмопу
українська: Яблуня
vepsän kel’: Jablokpu
Tiếng Việt: Chi Hải đường
中文: 苹果属

Malus (/ˈmeɪləs/[2] or /ˈmæləs/) is a genus of about 30–55 species[3] of small deciduous trees or shrubs in the family Rosaceae, including the domesticated orchard apple (M. domestica syn. M. pumila) – also known as the eating apple, cooking apple, or culinary apple. The other species are commonly known as crabapples, crab apples, crabtrees, wild apples, or rainberries.

The genus is native to the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere.

Flowering crabapple blooms

Apple trees are typically 4–12 m (13–39 ft) talI at maturity, with a dense, twiggy crown. The leaves are 3–10 cm (1.2–3.9 in) long, alternate, simple, with a serrated margin. The flowers are borne in corymbs, and have five petals, which may be white, pink, or red, and are perfect, with usually red stamens that produce copious pollen, and a half-inferior ovary; flowering occurs in the spring after 50–80 growing degree days (varying greatly according to subspecies and cultivar).

Many apples require cross-pollination between individuals by insects (typically bees, which freely visit the flowers for both nectar and pollen); these are called self-sterile, so self-pollination is impossible, making pollinating insects essential.

A number of cultivars are self-pollinating, such as 'Granny Smith' and 'Golden Delicious', but are considerably fewer in number compared to their cross-pollination dependent counterparts.

Several Malus species, including domestic apples, hybridize freely.[4] They are used as food plants by the larvae of a large number of Lepidoptera species; see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Malus.

The fruit is a globose pome, varying in size from 1–4 cm (0.39–1.57 in) diameter in most of the wild species, to 6 cm (2.4 in) in M. sylvestris sieversii, 8 cm (3.1 in) in M. domestica, and even larger in certain cultivated orchard apples. The centre of the fruit contains five carpels arranged star-like, each containing one or two seeds.
Subdivisions and species

About 42 to 55 species and natural hybrids are known, with about 25 from China, of which 15 are endemic. The genus Malus is subdivided into eight sections (six, with two added in 2006 and 2008).

Subgenus Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Section Chloromeles (Decaisne) Rehd. Malus angustifolia (Aiton) Michx. Southern crabapple Eastern and south-central United States from Florida west to eastern Texas and north to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Missouri
Crab apple flower.jpg Malus coronaria (L.) Mill. Sweet crabapple Great Lakes Region and in the Ohio Valley, United States
Malus coronaria, 2015-04-30, Frick Park, Pittsburgh, 01.jpg Malus ioensis (Alph.Wood) Britton Prairie crabapple Upper Mississippi Valley, United States
Malus brevipes (Rehder) Rehder Shrub apple
Section Docyniopsis Schneid. Malus doumeri - Quarryhill Botanical Garden - DSC03637.JPG Malus doumeri (Bois) A.Chev. Taiwan crabapple China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Zhejiang), Taiwan, Laos, Vietnam
Malus leiocalyca S. Z. Huang China (Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Zhejiang)
Malus meliana Handel-Mazzeti China (Schuian)
Malus tschonoskii fruits.JPG Malus tschonoskii (Maxim.) C.K.Schneid. Chonosuki crabapple and pillar apple Japan
Section Eriolobus (Seringe) Schneid Eriolobus trilobatus 1.jpg Malus trilobata (Poir.) C.K.Schneid. Lebanese wild apple, erect crabapple, or three-lobed apple tree Asia includes West and South Anatolia, Syria, Lebanon, and North Palestine, Europe from east section of Greek Thrace (Evros Prefecture) and southeastern Bulgaria
Section Florentinae (Rehder) M.H.Cheng ex G.Z.Qian[5] Malus florentina1.jpg Malus florentina (Zucc.) C.K.Schneid. Florentine crabapple, hawthorn-leaf crabapple Balkan Peninsula and Italy
Section Gymnomeles Koehne Malus-baccata-yellw-fruits.jpg Malus baccata (L.) Borkh. 1803 Siberian crabapple Russia, Mongolia, China, Korea, Bhutan, India, and Nepal
Malus halliana2.jpg Malus halliana Koehne 1890 Hall crabapple Japan and China
Malus hupehensis, Arnold Arboretum - IMG 6006.JPG Malus hupehensis (Pamp.) Rehder 1933 Tea crabapple China
Malus mandshurica 2019-04-16 0635.jpg Malus mandshurica (Maxim.) Kom. ex Skvortsov Manchurian crabapple China, Japan, eastern Russia
Crab Apple (Malus sikkimensis) (1444) Relic38.jpg Malus sikkimensis Wenz.) Koehne ex C.K.Schneid. Sikkim crabapple China, Nepal, Bhutan, and India
Malus spontanea Makino 1.jpg Malus spontanea (Makino) Makino Japan
Section Malus Langenfelds Malus asiatica 1.jpg Malus asiatica Nakai Chinese pearleaf crabapple China and Korea
Malus chitralensis Vassilcz. Chitral crab apple India, Pakistan
Malus crescimannoi Raimondo North-eastern Sicily
Malus Floribunda.jpg Malus floribunda Siebold ex Van Houtte Japanese flowering crabapple Japan and East Asia
Malus muliensis T.C.Ku China (Sichuan)
Malus orientalis blossom 03.JPG Malus orientalis Uglitzk. Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, and Russia
Malus prunifolia 2007-06-16 396.jpg Malus prunifolia (Willd.) Borkh. Plum-leaf crabapple, Chinese crabapple China
"Konsta" apples grown in Finland (K01561).jpg Malus domestica Miller, 1768 Orchard apple, includes Malus niedzwetzkyana and M. pumila Central Asia (mountains of Kazakhstan)[6]
95apple.jpeg Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) M.Roem. Southern Kazakhstan
Malus spectabilis in the Jardin des Plantes, Paris 002.jpg Malus spectabilis (Aiton) Borkh. Asiatic apple, Chinese crabapple China (Hebei, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Zhejiang)
Malus sylvestris 005.JPG Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. European crabapple Europe
Malus zhaojiaoensis N.G.Jiang Zhaojiao crab apple China (Sichuan)
Section Sorbomalus Zabel Malus fusca kz5.jpg Malus fusca (Raf.) C.K.Schneid. Oregon or Pacific crabapple Western North America from Alaska, through British Columbia, to northwestern California
Malus kansuensis (Batalin) C. K. Schneider Calva crabapple China (Gansu, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Sichuan)
Malus komarovii (Sarg.) Rehder China, Manchuria, and North Korea
Malus sargentii 0zz.jpg Malus sargentii Rehder. Sargent crabapple Japan
Malus sieboldii, fruit 09.jpg Malus toringo (Siebold) de Vriese Toringo crabapple or Siebold's crabapple Eastern temperate Asia, in China, Japan, and Korea
Malus toringoides JPG1fr.jpg Malus toringoides Hughes Cut-leaf crabapple China(Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, and Sichuan)
A rich table for birds - close view of fruit - - 607135.jpg Malus transitoria C.K.Schneid. Cut-leaf crabapple China (Gansu, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, E Xizang)
Crab apples at Feeringbury Manor garden, Feering Essex England.jpg Malus zumi (Matsum.) Rehder Japan (Honshu)
Section Yunnanenses (Rehd.) G.Z.Qian[7] Malus honanensis Rehder. Honan Crabapple China (Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Shanxi)
Malus ombrophila Handel-Mazzetti China (Sichuan, Xizang,Yunnan)
Malus prattii - Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg - DSC07575.JPG Malus prattii (Hemsl.) C.K.Schneid. Pratt's crabapple China (Guangdong, Guizhou, west Sichuan, and northwest Yunnan)
Malus yunnanensis.JPG Malus yunnanensis C.K.Schneid. Yunnan crabapple China (Yunnan)

Natural hybrids

Malus × micromalus – midget crabapple

'Evereste' fruits
Crabapple bonsai tree taken in August

Crabapples are popular as compact ornamental trees, providing blossom in spring and colourful fruit in autumn. The fruits often persist throughout winter. Numerous hybrid cultivars have been selected.

Some crabapples are used as rootstocks for domestic apples to add beneficial characteristics.[8] For example, the rootstocks of Malus baccata varieties are used to give additional cold hardiness to the combined plants for orchards in cold northern areas.[9]

They are also used as pollinizers in apple orchards. Varieties of crabapple are selected to bloom contemporaneously with the apple variety in an orchard planting, and the crabs are planted every sixth or seventh tree, or limbs of a crab tree are grafted onto some of the apple trees. In emergencies, a bucket or drum bouquet of crabapple flowering branches is placed near the beehives as orchard pollenizers. See also Fruit tree pollination.

Because of the plentiful blossoms and small fruit, crabapples are popular for use in bonsai culture.[10][11][12]

These cultivars have won the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-[13]

'Comtesse de Paris' [16]
'Jelly King'='Mattfru'[18]
Malus × robusta 'Red Sentinel'[20]
'Sun Rival'[21]

Other varieties are dealt with under their species names.
Culinary uses

Crabapple fruit is not an important crop in most areas, being extremely sour due to malic acid (which like the genus derives from the Latin name mālum), and in some species woody, so is rarely eaten raw. In some Southeast Asian cultures, they are valued as a sour condiment, sometimes eaten with salt and chilli or shrimp paste.

Some crabapple varieties are an exception to the reputation of being sour, and can be very sweet, such as the 'Chestnut' cultivar.[22]

Crabapples are an excellent source of pectin, and their juice can be made into a ruby-coloured preserve with a full, spicy flavour.[23] A small percentage of crabapples in cider makes a more interesting flavour.[24] As Old English Wergulu, the crab apple is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century.

Applewood gives off a pleasant scent when burned, and smoke from an applewood fire gives an excellent flavour to smoked foods.[25] It is easier to cut when green; dry applewood is exceedingly difficult to carve by hand.[25] It is a good wood for cooking fires because it burns hot and slow, without producing much flame.[25]

Apple blossom. Eastern Siberia

Ripe wild crab apples (Malus sylvestris)



Cirrus Digital Purple Prince Crabapple
Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
Phipps, J.B.; et al. (1990). "A checklist of the subfamily Maloideae (Rosaceae)". Can. J. Bot. 68 (10): 2209–2269. doi:10.1139/b90-288.
Ken Wilson and D.C. Elfving. "Crabapple Pollenizers for Apples". Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Retrieved 12 Sep 2013.
GUAN-ZE QIAN, LIAN-FEN LIU, DE-YUAN HONG, GENG-GUO TANG (2008). "Taxonomic study of Malus section Florentinae (Rosaceae)". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 158 (2): 223–227. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2008.00841.x.
"The History of the "Forbidden" Fruit". National Geographic Partners. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
G.-Z. Qian, L.-F. Liu, G.-G. Tang (2006). "A new section in Malus (Rosaceae) from China" (PDF). Annales Botanici Fennici. 43 (1): 68–73. JSTOR 23727279.
Apple Tree Rootstocks Ecogardening Factsheet #21, Summer 1999
Alaska Department of Natural Resources [ Archived 2008-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
Biel, John. "Collecting and Training Crab Apples | American Bonsai Society". American Bonsai Society. Archived from the original on 3 July 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
"Crabapple (Malus) - Bonsai Empire". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
Walston, Brent. "Crabapples for Bonsai". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
"AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 63. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
"RHS Plantfinder - Malus 'Adirondack'". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
"RHS Plantfinder - Malus 'Butterball'". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
"Malus 'Comtesse de Paris'". RHS. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
"RHS Plantfinder -Malus 'Evereste'". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
"RHS Plantfinder - Malus Jelly King = 'Mattfru'". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
"RHS Plantfinder - Malus 'Laura'". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
"RHS Plantfinder - Malus × robusta 'Red Sentinel'". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
"RHS Plantfinder - Malus 'Sun Rival'". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
"The Growing Guide". Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co. Archived from the original on 2014-07-26.
Rombauer, I.; Becker, M. R.; Becker, E. (2002) [2002]. All About Canning & Preserving (The Joy of Cooking series). New York: Scribner. p. 72. ISBN 0-7432-1502-8.
"The Science of Cidermaking". Andrew Lea. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
Fraser, Anna (22 August 2005). "Properties of different trees as firewood". Retrieved 17 July 2008.

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