Wild crab apple or wild apple (Malus species)

Wild Apple tree with white flowersWild apple, also known as Crab Apples or Crabs, are a tree that grow to 13-39 feet tall with a dense, twiggy crown.  Wild apple varieties are much smaller than cultivated kinds; the largest kinds usually do not exceed 5 to 7.5 centimeters (2 to 3 inches) in diameter, and most often are smaller. The trunk is reddish brown or grayish brown often single-trunked with low branches.  The bark is smooth in young trees but becomes furrowed and knotty where branches have detached.  Heavy fruit loads sometimes make the trunks (and canopy) lean.  They have small, medium to dark green, somewhat spear-shaped, alternate, simple leaves with smooth or finely serrated edges, about 1-4 inches long and often have thorns. The leaves turn bronze, red, orange, or purple color in the Fall.  Their flowers have five petals and are white or pink (sometimes red) and their fruits reddish or yellowish.  The center of the fruit has five carpels arranged in a star-like pattern, each one containing 1-2 seeds.

Wild Apple tree with pink flowersMost wild apples look enough like domestic apples that the survivor can easily recognize them.

Where to Find: They are found in the savanna regions of the tropics. In temperate areas, wild apple varieties are found mainly in forested areas. Most frequently, they are found on the edge of woods or in fields. They are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Edible Parts: Prepare wild apples for eating in the same manner as cultivated kinds. Eat them fresh, when ripe, or cooked. Should you need to store food, cut the apples into thin slices and dry them. They are a good source of vitamins.

Note: Apple seeds contain cyanide compounds. Avoid eating the seeds.

Other Uses: Apple wood can be used to smoke foods as it burns hot and slow without producing much flame.

Wild Apple tree leaves are oval, spear-shaped with smooth or finely serrated edges

Examples of Wild Apple tree leaves

Wild Apple tree leaves with hanging fruit

Wild Apple tree with pink buds and white flowers

Wild Apple tree fruit is often smaller than cultivated apple tree fruit

Yelloe Wild Apple tree apples

Wild Apple tree flowers

Wild Apple tree trunks are often knurled and knotty where branches have been cut of fallen off

Color drawing of Wild Apple tree branches, leaves, fruit, and cross section (notice star-shape inside fruit)

Color drawing of Wild Apple tree leaves, fruit, and flowers

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