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Malus angustifolia (Southern crabapple)
Cliffe, Harry

Malus angustifolia

Malus angustifolia (Aiton) Michx.

Southern Crabapple, Narrowleaf Crabapple, Wild Crabapple, Southern Crab, Narrowleaf Crab, Wild Crab

Rosaceae (Rose Family)


USDA Symbol: MAAN3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A small tree, 25-30 ft. tall, commonly forming thickets from root sprouts, spreading branches, and broad, open crown. Branches are usually spreading and form a rounded crown. Profuse pink flowers make a beautiful, fragrant show in early spring. Leaves are red when they emerge in early spring and are highlighted against colorful, scaly bark. Yellow-green fruit is not showy by ornamental standards.

This is the crab apple that grows at low altitudes in the Southeast, often forming thickets. Quantities of the fruit are consumed by bobwhites, grouse, pheasants, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. The hard, heavy wood has been used to make tool handles.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Pome
Size Notes: Up to about 30 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Pink, sometimes fading to white.


USA: AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , OH , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: FL to s.e. TX, n. to NJ, KY, s. IL & AR
Native Habitat: Moist woods & woodland borders; fence rows; old fields

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Native crabapple are extremely susceptible to a myriad of maladies, especially in humid areas. They should be given ample space, good drainage and well-limed soil. This species may remain semi-evergreen in mild winters.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Divide by removing suckers and root sprouts in late winter. Fall sowing seeds is easiest. Rootability of cuttings varies from tree to tree. Some softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings may produce roots.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Malus angustifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Malus angustifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Malus angustifolia


Record Modified: 2023-05-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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