Facts about Siberian Crabapple

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Siberian crabapple Quick Facts
Name: Siberian crabapple
Scientific Name: Malus baccata
Origin Russia, Mongolia, China, Korea, Bhutan, India and Nepal
Colors Initially green turning to red to yellow as they mature
Shapes Spherical, only about 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter; they form dense clusters and resemble cherries from a distance
Taste Very astringent, tart taste
Health benefits Support for headaches, dysentery, diarrhea and many other ailments.
Siberian crabapple scientifically known as Malus baccata is an Asian species of apple belonging to the rose family (Rosaceae). The plant is native to Russia, Mongolia, China, Korea, Bhutan, India, Kashmir and Nepal. The tree is found in Japan, and it has also been introduced to Europe and to North America, where it is found in the wild mostly in the Great Lakes Region and in the Northeastern United States. It is also grown elsewhere as an ornamental tree and for rootstock. It is used for bonsai as well. Some of the popular common names of the plant are Siberian crab apple, Siberian crab, Chinese Crab Apple, Flowering crabapple, Chinese Crab and Manchurian crab apple. Genus name from Latin is an ancient name for apple. Specific epithet from Latin means berry-like.

The plant is cultivated for its fruit, timber (which is used for smokehouse kindling and firewood) and also for medicinal uses (it is a treatment for dysentery and diarrhea and is also a source of the antibiotic, phloretin); it is also used in ornamental landscaping, as a shade tree and as a farmstead windbreak. It has been used as graft stock and to confer cold tolerance and Podaspaere leucotrica resistance into apple. Malus baccata is known to be a widespread species.

Siberian Crabapple Facts

Name Siberian crabapple
Scientific Name Malus baccata
Native Russia, Mongolia, China, Korea, Bhutan, India and Nepal. The tree is found in Japan, and it has also been introduced to Europe and to North America, where it is found in the wild mostly in the Great Lakes Region and in the Northeastern United States.
Common Names Siberian crab apple, Siberian crab, Chinese Crab Apple, Flowering crabapple, Chinese Crab, Manchurian crab apple
Name in Other Languages Arabic: Tufaah tuti  (تفاح توتي)
Azerbaijani: Giləmeyvəli alma
Bulgarian: yagodova yabŭlka (ягодова ябълка), yagodoplodna yabŭlka (ягодоплодна яблълка)
Chinese: Lin qin zi,   Shan jing zi (山荆子), Shan jiang zi
Croatian: Sibirska jabuka
Czech: Jabloň drobnoplodá
Danish:  Bæræble, Bær-Æble
Dutch: Kersappelboom
English: Siberian crab apple, Siberian crab, Chinese Crab Apple, Flowering crabapple, Chinese Crab
Estonian: Ida-mariõunapuu
Finnish: Marjaomena, Marjaomenapuu.
French: Pommier de Sibérie, Pommier sibérien, Pommier à baies, pommier microcarpe de Sibérie, pommier à petits fruits
German: Beeren-Apfel, Kirschapfel, Beerenapfelbaum, Kirschapfelbaum, sibirischer Wildapfel, Osagedorn
Hindi:   Ban mehal, Mailas baikāṭā (मैलस् बैकाटा)
Hungarian: Bogyós díszalma, Malus baccata       
Italian: Melo di Siberia
Japanese: Siberya koringo, Shiberiaringo (シベリアリンゴ)
Korean: Yag wang na mu (야광나무)
Lao: Malus baccata
Latvian: Og
Malayalam: Mālas bakkāṭṭa (മാലസ് ബക്കാട്ട)
Nepali: Koma, Kumbulin
Netherlands: Appelboom, kers
Norwegian: Bæreple, Småeple
Persian: مالوس باکاتا
Polish: Jabłoń jagodowa
Russian:  Yablonya yagodnaya (Яблоня ягодная), Iablonia sibirskaia, Âblonâ âgognaâ, Âblonâ Sibirskaâ, yablonya Pallasa (яблоня Палласа), yablonya sibirskaya (яблоня сибирская), yablonya khamardabanskaya (яблоня хамардабанская), yablonya yagodnaya (яблоня ягодная)
Slovak: Jabloň malvičkatá Slovakian:  Jabloň malvičkatá
Spanish: Manzano
Swedish: Bärapel
Turkish: Sibirya çiçek elması
Ukrainian: Yablunya yahidna (Яблуня ягідна), yablunya pallasa (яблуня палласа), yablunya sybirsʹka (яблуня сибірська )
Vietnamese: Táo dại Siberi
Plant Growth Habit Upright, deciduous, broad-rounded, flowering crabapple tree
Growing Climates Open forested areas, Mixed forests on slopes, among shrubs in valleys, Mesic thickets and riparian zones
Soil Succeeds in most fertile soils including heavy ones, preferring a moisture retentive well-drained loamy soil. Prefers a sunny position but succeeds in partial shade
Plant Size Usually grows 5 – 10 metres tall, sometimes reaching 14 metres. The short bole can be up to 30cm in diameter
Branchlets Branchlets reddish brown, glabrous
Buds Reddish brown, ovoid, scales tomentose at margin
Leaf Elliptic or egg-shaped, 3-8 cm (1.18 –3.15 in) long and 2- 3.5 cm (0.79–1.38 in) wide. It is very slightly hairy when young, base cuneate or rounded apex acuminate and margin serrate
Flowering season April to May
Flower Pedicels are slender and 1.5–4 cm (0.59–1.57 in) long. They bear white fragrant flowers of 3–3.5 cm (1.2–1.4 in) in diameter which groups by 4–6. Petals are white and egg-shaped, approximately 2–2.5 cm (0.79–0.98 in) long
Fruit Shape & Size Spherical, only about 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter; they form dense clusters and resemble cherries from a distance
Fruit Color Initially green turning to red to yellow as they mature
Varieties
  • Columnar Siberian Crabapple (Malus baccata ‘Columnaris’)
  • Manchurian Crabapple (Malus baccata var. mandshurica)
  • Midwest Crabapple (M. baccata var. mandshurica ‘Midwest’)
Propagation By seed
Taste Very astringent, tart taste
Lifepan Around 30–40 years
Season September–October

Plant Description

Siberian crabapple is an upright, deciduous, broad-rounded, flowering crabapple tree with arching or pendulous branches forming a rounded, wide-spreading canopy. The tree usually grows 5 – 10 meters tall, sometimes reaching 14 meters. The short bole can be up to 30 cm in diameter. The plant is found growing in open forested areas, mixed forests on slopes, among shrubs in valleys, mesic thickets and riparian zones. The plant succeeds in most fertile soils including heavy ones, preferring a moisture retentive well-drained loamy soil. It prefers a sunny position but succeeds in partial shade. The plant has arching or overhanging red-brown branches and red-brown buds.

Leaves

Leaves are elliptic or egg-shaped, 3-8 cm (1.18 –3.15 in) long and 2- 3.5 cm (0.79–1.38 in) wide. It is very slightly hairy when young, base cuneate or rounded apex acuminate and margin serrate. Petioles are 2–5 cm (0.8–2.0 in) long, with few glands and fine hairs. No appreciable fall color, with early fall leaf drop common.

Bud Arrangement Alternate
Bud Color Reddish-brown, with several imbricate scales
Bud Size 1/8 to 1/4 inch long.
Leaf Type and Shape Simple, elliptical
Leaf Venation pinnate, brachidodrome
Leaf Margins Finely-serrate to irregularly-toothed or lobed
Leaf Surface Essentially glabrous
Leaf Length 1 to 3¼ inches
Leaf Width 1 to 2½ inches
Leaf Color Dark or olive-green above, paler green beneath; yellow fall color.
Fall Color Yellow
Fall Characteristics Not showy

 

Flower

Pedicels are slender and 1.5–4 cm (0.59–1.57 in) long. They bear white fragrant flowers of 3–3.5 cm (1.2–1.4 in) in diameter which groups by 4–6. Petals are white and egg-shaped, approximately 2–2.5 cm (0.79–0.98 in) long. Flowering normally takes place in between April to May.

Flower Type Umbel or corymb-like racemes
Flower Color White
Fruit Type  A 1/4 to 1/3 inch (pea-sized) pome with deciduous calyx
Fruit Color Yellow, often with reddish blush
Fruit Characteristics Attracts squirrels/mammals; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

 

Fruit

Fertile flowers are followed by tiny red or yellow spherical crabapples which ripen in fall. They are only about 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter; they form dense clusters and resemble cherries from a distance. Small ones may be yellow, often with a reddish blush, or a glossy red. Small ones may stay on the tree all through the winter. Larger ones may also be pale yellow with bright red flushes, sometimes with a blue bloom. Fruit is edible for humans. Birds are attracted to the fruit.

Traditional uses and benefits of Siberian Crabapple

  • The paste of the fruit is applied to the forehead to relieve headaches.
  • The plant is used in a treatment for dysentery and diarrhea and also a source of the antibiotic, phloretin.

Culinary Uses

  • Fruit can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • It is often dried for winter use and also makes an excellent jelly.
  • They make excellent jelly, jam, and sauce, and have traditionally been used in cider.

Other Facts

  • The plant can be used as a rootstock for apple cultivars.
  • It produces a vigorous tree that has more cold tolerance and disease resistance.
  • It is commonly used as stock to graft Malus pumila and M. asiatica in N and NE China.
  • It is a dynamic accumulator gathering minerals or nutrients from the soil and storing them in a more bioavailable form – used as fertilizer or to improve mulch.
  • Trees can produce fruit in 4 years from seed.
  • Malus baccata is used as ornament for its flowers and fruit.
  • The timber is used for smokehouse kindling and firewood.
  • The wood has been used for making a wide range of items, including furniture, mallet heads, umbrella handles, cog wheels, pianos, tools etc., and also for turnery.

Precautions

  • In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer.
  • In larger concentrations, however, cyanide can cause gasping, weakness, excitement, pupil dilation, spasms, convulsions, coma and respiratory failure leading to death.

References:

http://www.theplantlist.net/tpl1.1/record/rjp-5766

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=25256#null

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=23219

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Malus+baccata

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=286425

https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/malus/baccata/

https://biodiversity.bt/species/show/1128

https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:726243-1

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200010898

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/MABBA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malus_baccata

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/ST397

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/31947

http://temperate.theferns.info/plant/Malus+baccata

https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=MABA

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