Malus baccata is a species of apple known by the common names Siberian crabapple, Siberian crab, Manchurian crab apple and Chinese crab apple. It is native to most of Asia, but is also grown elsewhere as an ornamental tree and for rootstock. It is used for bonsai. It bears plentiful fragrant white flowers and edible red to yellow fruit of about 1 cm diameter.
Distribution and habitat
Malus baccata is native to Eastern Siberia, Russian Far East, Mongolia, China, Korea, Bhutan, India and Nepal, where it is common to mixed forests on hilly slopes at elevations up to 1500 meters. The tree is found in Japan, and it has also been introduced to Canada and the US where it is mostly found around the Great Lakes.
Trees grow up to 10–14 meters high. They have arching or overhanging red-brown branches and red-brown buds. Petioles are 2–5 cm long, with few glands. Leaves are elliptic or oval shaped, (3–8)×(2–3.5) cm in size. Pedicels are slender and 1.5–4 cm long. They bear white fragrant flowers of 3–3.5 cm diameter which groups by 4–6. Petals are white and oval-shaped, with a size of 2–2.5 cm. Fruits are red to yellow and are only about 1 cm in diameter; they form dense clusters and resemble cherries from a distance. Flowering occurs in spring, with fruits appearing in September–October.
- M. baccata var. baccata (10–14 meters tall)
- M. baccata var. daochengensis
- M. baccata var. gracilis (4–6 m)
- M. baccata var. himalaica
- M. baccata var. jinxianensis
- M. baccata var. mandshurica (Manchurian crab apple, 5–10 m)
- M. baccata var. xiaojinensis
M. baccata is used as ornament for its flowers and fruit. Fruits are edible and are eaten fresh or dried. As one of the tallest and most resistant to cold and pest species of its genus, M. baccata is used for experimental breeding and grafting of other crabapples. In particular, it is a common genetic source for M. pumila and M. asiatica in northern and north-eastern China. M. baccata var. mandshurica is used for bonsai.
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