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Malus ioensis (Wood) Britt.
Prairie crabapple, Iowa crabapple
Synonyms: Malus ioensis var. ioensis, Pyrus ioensis
USDA Symbol: maio
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A miniature apple tree in most respects, prairie crabapple grows to 35 ft. with a dense, irregular form. A sometimes spiny shrub or small tree, with spreading branches and broad, open crown. Exfoliating bark reveals silvery-gray inner bark. The large, white or pink, flowers grow in clusters that cover the tree. A yellow-green, apple-like berry is not ornamental by crabapple standards. If the foliage has escaped premature defoliation from fungus disease, it can develop a deep crimson color in fall.
This is the crabapple of the eastern prairie region in the upper Mississippi Valley. A handsome double-flowered variety is grown as an ornamental. Numerous species of birds, including bobwhites and pheasants, and squirrels, rabbits, and other mammals consume the fruit.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun
AR , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MI , MN , MO , NE , NJ , OH , OK , SD , TX , WI Native Distribution:
WI, MN & NE, s. to KY, LA & OK Native Habitat:
Edges of woods & thickets USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Moist Soil pH:
Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2) CaCO3 Tolerance:
High Soil Description:
Well-drained loams. Conditions Comments:
A good specimen plant that needs full sun or it will become scraggly. Though it prefers moist, rich sites, this crabapple will tolerate dry conditions on limestone or alkali soil. Cedar-apple rust, apple scab, and other leaf diseases are severe. These trees tend to form clonal thickets. If a single stem
is desired, suckers have to be pulled.
Crabapple thickets provide nesting sites, shelter, and food for large and small birds. Use Food:
Yellowish-green 1 inch diameter fruit
are good for jelly and cider. Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies
Sow directly outdoors in fall or stratify and sow in spring. Does not germinate well in hot temperatures. Will root from suckers or softwood cuttings. Seed Collection:
in fall before it has fallen. Cut out seeds and clean before sowing or storage. Air-dry before storing in sealed, refrigerated containers. Seed Treatment:
Stratify for 30-60 days at 41 degrees. Commercially Avail:
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Record Modified: 2011-04-02
Research By: TWC Staff