Native Plant of the Month: Western Crabapple

Photo of Western  Crabapple.

Common Name: Western Crabapple

Binomial Name: Malus fusca

Soil Type: Wet to Moist

Sunlight: Full Sun

Plant Type: Tree or Shrub

Form: Small tree, Thorny appearance, slender form

Foliage: Deciduous Fruit/Flower: Small edible egg-shaped pommes, Fragrant white, pink, or red blossoms

Western Crabapple is a native large shrub or small tree, multi-stemmed with small shoots often sharp and thorn like, these thorns are actually spurs from which the flowers and later fruit emerge. The Western Crabapple is popular for attracting birds to the garden and will tolerate flooding making it great for planting in a bio swale or near disconnected downspout.

Size ranges from anywhere between four feet and thirty five feet although most grow about twenty feet high. The leaves turn shades of red and orange in the fall, pointed ovals in shape, often fuzzy about four inches in length. The flowers have five petals up to one inch across and arrange in clusters of five to twelve blooms. The fruit are small half inch Pommes turning yellow or reddish when ripe.

The western crabapple is a genus of about twenty five species. Varieties differ widely in disease resistance however nurseries have displaced many of the old varieties and placed great emphasis on prompting disease friendly varieties. Many people use the western crab apple to graft with other varieties of other apple tree because of its insect and disease tolerance they can also be trained as espaliers for creating a screening affect.

This Native Plant of the Month has been brought to you by the City of Beaverton’s Landscape and Urban Forestry Department