nightfly's picture

Crab Apple

Observed: 3rd October 2012 By: nightflynightfly’s reputation in Plantsnightfly’s reputation in Plantsnightfly’s reputation in Plants
3 Oct 12 (46)
Species interactions

No interactions present.


GrizzledBadger's picture

If planted it may be an

If planted it may be an ornamental crab cv Golden Hornet, think its too yellow fot true atrue 'Crab'.


nightfly's picture

Cheers Brock, It is very

Cheers Brock,

It is very yellow. The only other 'crab apple' I am familiar with is in a neighbours garden and they are quite red, maybe it is the true crab apple. I should post that. Ive never heard of Golden Hornet til now.

Thanks for the feedback,


lavateraguy's picture

Malus hupehensis

The red-fruited species included in Stace is Malus hupehensis, but possibly other taxa and cultivars are to be found cultivated.

The true Malus sylvestris has yellowish-green fruits. It is difficult to distinguish from small-fruited forms of Malus pumila.

nightfly's picture

Thanks Lavateraguy, I'd be

Thanks Lavateraguy,

I'd be interested in any thoughts you might have on the crab apple type fruit I have posted above.


lavateraguy's picture


I'd agree that the fruits are too yellow for it to be Malus sylvestris. It might be Malus 'Golden Hornet', but I'm not educated on Malus cultivants - I was so far wrong as to identified red-leaved and -flowering crabs as Prunus last spring.

Hiller's Manual has 6 pages of descriptions of ornamental (i.e. not dessert or eating) apples, but 'Golden Hornet' is commonly enough planted that it's in Mitchell.

nightfly's picture

Thanks very much for the

Thanks very much for the feedback, until yesterday I hadnt even heard of the term Malus, these seem to be a bit complicated as far as IDing to species is concerned.


lavateraguy's picture

cultivated plants

The 3rd edn. of Stace's New Flora of the British Isles cover 4800 taxa, but doesn't cover the numerous microspecies of Rubus (bramble), Hieracium (hawkweed) and Taraxacum (dandelion).

So identifying plants in the wild can be complicated enough. (I'm getting better, but there are several groups that still defeat me, and others where I'm somewhat uncertain.) But the number to be found at appreciable frequency in any one area is lower - my local tally in now comfortable over 1,000 species (i.e. about 25% of the national total) and that includes a few county first records.

When it comes to cultivated plants there are an order of magnitude more species involved. For example, in Malus there are essentially 2 species found in the wild - the native crab (Malus sylvestris) and the naturalised domestic apple (Malus pumila), formerly Malus domestica, with a couple of other taxa locally naturalised. Stace mentions 3 other taxa in passing. The 6 pages of cultivated ornamental apples in Hillier's manual equals about 100 taxa.

Cultivated plants also include a greater proportion of hybrids, and of cultivars divergent from the normal state of the species, so boundaries between taxa are typically less sharp.

Therefore identifying cultivated plants is in general more complicated. (There are exceptions, such as Araucaria araucana (monkey-puzzle), which is both common enough to be learnt, and distinctive enough that it is less likely to be confused with other species.

nightfly's picture

Thanks for all this insight

Thanks for all this insight Lavateraguy, I am barely scratching the surface with plants at this stage. I think I should stick to wild plants to begin with before I try looking at things like ornamental apples in old gardens. They looked well in the sunshine yesterday and I had the camera with me so....

There are many tree species growing in the wild here (as everywhere) some of which are indigenous but many of which are clearly not. There is a lot of exploration to do, iSpot is the business- many questions to be answered.

Thanks again,


lavateraguy's picture


Still take the photograph if you think they are photogenic; just don't sweat it about identifying them.

Trees are a relatively small universe of discourse compared with plants as a whole. Hence either the old (Mitchell) or new (Sterry) guides from Collins gives sufficient coverage, combined with practice in interpreting observations, to identify most cultivated trees. (Groups like Malus or Prunus with lots of cultivars are one of the exceptions.)

You can/could get remaindered copies of Sterry (and his wild flower guide as well) at The Works.