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Crab Apple

Crab Apple

A symbol of fertility and a forager's delight. Crab apple trees are associated with love and marriage and its small, hard fruits make an exquisite, jewel-coloured jelly.

One of the ancestors of the cultivated apple (of which there are more than 6,000 varieties), it can live to up to 100 years. Mature trees grow to around 10m in height. They have an irregular, rounded shape and a wide, spreading canopy. The crab apple is one of the few host trees of mistletoe and trees are often covered in lichens.

The leaves are food for the caterpillars while the flowers provide an important source of early pollen and nectar for insects, particularly bees, and the fruit is eaten by birds, including blackbirds, thrushes and crows. Mammals, such as mice, voles, foxes and badgers, also eat Crab Apple fruit. Also edible to humans, the fruit can be roasted and served with meat or added to ales and punches. More commonly, it is used to make crab apple jelly and as a natural source of pectin for setting jams. 

Crab Apples have long been associated with love and marriage. It was said that if you throw the pips into the fire while saying the name of your love, the love is true if the pips explode.

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