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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Thursday - April 13, 2006

From: Worcester, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Commercial source of Malus x arnoldiana in Massachusetts
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Looking for a commercial source for Malus x arnoldiana, a Massachusetts native apple/crabapple. I work for a Massachusetts conservation land trust with an interest in wildlife habitat and mast and native plants. Only things I have found are arboretum holdings and plant lists from the 70's. I will work with an arboretum's propagation specialist if that is the only source available.

ANSWER:

You can search in the National Suppliers Directory for nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants. Each nursery gives contact information—address, telephone, and for some, e-mail and website information. I did a quick preliminary search on those with websites and did not find a Malus species at all listed for sale. However, there were many other nurseries that only had telephone contact numbers (with no websites listed) that might offer the tree for sale. It is also possible that the New England Wildflower Society or one of the other chapters of the North American Native Plant Society in your area may have other sources for native plants that are not listed in our National Suppliers Directory.

Arnold's crabapple is a lovely flowering shrub/tree; but, for right or wrong, it has a reputation as a weak grower with higher than average susceptibility to disease. This reputation is probably why few commercial growers offer it for sale. If you want to use this hybrid to fulfill an historical requirement, then the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is likely to be your best bet. They do offer a limited "Propagation and Distribution" service for some plants that are not commercially available. You might also find a good commercial grower in your area willing to grow them on a contract basis if good cutting material can be found.
 

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