Characteristics of the European Crab Apple Tree (Malus sylvestris) in the Wild

Malus sylvestris
European crab apple is a species of fruit-producing tree in the form of apples from the genus Malus. It is better known as the “Forest Apple” rather than the European crab apple because it often grows wild in forests with a certain height and climate. Outside Europe, the tree has fairly sharp thorns.

In Indonesia, the European crab apple tree called by the name Apel Manalagi is cultivated for its delicious fruit harvested. The tree often looks like a bush rather than a tree.

In the past European crab apples were considered important than ordinary apples which are now more commonly cultivated (Malus domestica).

European crab apple is one of the mainstays of plantations in East Java, Indonesia. These apples were brought by the Dutch from Australia and Central Asia in the 1930s and apple plantations developed rapidly in the highlands of East Java, especially in Malang Raya because the climate is cool and dry compared to the average Indonesian climate which is warm and humid.


Characteristics of European Crab Apple Leaf

Malus sylvestris Leaf
Source :

The leaves are serrated, measuring 5-8 cm long and 3-4 cm wide.


Characteristics of European Crab Apple Flower

Malus sylvestris Flower
Source : Nielsen

The flowers are white or pink, bloom in summer or from May to June.


Characteristics of European Crab Apple Fruit

Malus sylvestris Fruit
Source : Hillewaert

The fruit is apple, small round, 7-10 cm in diameter. The taste is typical of apple green, slightly bitter, and refreshing.


Characteristics of European Crab Apple Tree

Malus sylvestris Tree
Source : Sussex Woodland

The tree grows to form a bush that can grow up to 8-10 meters in height with a trunk diameter of 30-50 cm. The trunk is bent, the branches are solid, and have sharp, stiff spines. This European crab apple tree can live between 80-100 years.

European apple crab wood is fairly strong, it is often made as a tool handle, small boat, and handicraft.


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