Bud Burst is under way as the leaves are emerging on the single Pacific Crabapple currently growing here in Beaver Willows Nature Habitat. Soon this tree will have company. Eight treelets are waiting to be planted in line with our established tree. These are part of the plantings we received from our Clean Water Services Utilitylast month. The weather is good, and wetland flooding has subsided so planting looks very promising this week.
Pacific Crabapple Malus fusca is a sturdy, deciduous, native shrub or small tree.In shrub form, it is a multi-stemmed plant that grows to 8 – 10 feet. As a small tree, the Pacific Crabapple can reach heights of 15-25 feet. It has sharp spur-shoots. Older trees display deeply fissured bark.
Leaves are alternate, pointed at the ends, with lance or egg-shape that are toothed with irregular lobes.As fall foliage, they turn showy red or bright orange-yellow. Leaf length is about 10 centimeters.
Flowers are fragrant, pink-white in color, and look similar to those of domesticated apple trees.
Fruits stay green well into the summer and turn yellow- brownish as they ripen between September and October.The fruit grows in clusters and is edible, however, the taste is a bit tart.
Ecology of the Malus fusca is actually quite broad. It can be planted on a wide variety of sites. Robust growth occurs in moist woods, edges of standing water and flowing water, wetlands, upper beaches, and on the fringes of estuaries. The Pacific Crabapple tolerates drought, and grows well at low to middle elevations.
Ethnobotany Northwest Coastal Native-Americans have had a particularly illustrious relationship with the Pacific Crabapple tree. I highly encourage you to click on the following blossom to access “Pacific Crabapple Tells Its Story.” Discover interesting facts about how Indigenous peoples have depended on the Pacific Crabapple.