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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Malus fusca

Pacific Crabapple

Flowering Period: Apr, May April May
Flower color: white Flower color: pink
Full sun Mostly sunny
Wet soil Moist soil


At a Glance: Small tree, slender in form, appears thorny; bushy in the open.

Height: 16.5-40 feet (5-12 meters).
Growth Form: Tree or shrub.
Stems: Twigs and branches appear to have thorns, but these are actually spurs, on which flowers and fruits are produced. Young twigs covered with tiny white or gray hairs. Older bark deeply fissured.
Leaves: Simple, lance-shaped to oval-oblong; 4-10 cm (1.5-4 in) long; edges saw-toothed and slightly curled, edges often lobed near tip; leaves vary from unlobed to weakly or strongly lobed; alternate; color: light green.
Flowers: fragrant white to pink apple blossoms in small clusters; pretty in bloom, but small; size: 9-14 mm long; shape: petals oblong-oval to obovate.
Flowering Period: April, May.
Fruits: In clusters; crisp, sour, and juicy; shape: egg-shaped pommes; size: 10-16 mm long; color: polished yellow to purplish-red.

Malus fusca
Photo © Heidi Bohan


Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

wet
moist
dry

Wetland Indicator Status:
FACU (facultative upland)
Up to 2500 ft in Cascades.

low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
Wetland habitats.
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Birds: Fruit remaining on trees in winter is a preferred food of purple finches. Also evening grosbeaks, towhees, sapsuckers, woodpeckers, waxwings and grouse. Cavity nesting birds and other wildlife may nest and roost in tree cavities of large trees.
Insects: Spring azure butterfly.
Mammals: Favorite food of deer, elk and bears. Also coyotes, foxes.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Material Uses: Wood is very compact and fine grained. Sometimes used in small ornamental turnery because of toughness and brownish hue of wood.
Medicinal Uses: Bark was used, alone or with other plant products, for a variety of medicinal treatments for the eyes and for the stomach and digestive tract.
Food Uses: Fruits important food for virtually all coastal peoples. Eaten fresh or stored under water and oil, in cedarwood storage boxes.
Toxicity: Bark contains cyanide-producing compounds..

Landscape Uses: Plant near waterways, wetlands, or other moist sites. Very salt-tolerant.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.