Malus fusca

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Malus fusca
Flowers and leaves at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in California
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Malus
M. fusca
Binomial name
Malus fusca
  • Malus diversifolia (Bong.) M.Roem.
  • Malus fusca var. levipes (Nutt.) C.K.Schneid.
  • Malus rivularis (Douglas ex Hook.) M.Roem.
  • Pyrus diversifolia Bong.
  • Pyrus fusca Raf. 1830
  • Pyrus fusea Raf.
  • Pyrus rivularis Douglas ex Hook.
  • Pyrus rivularis var. levipes Nutt.
  • Sorbus rivularis (Douglas ex Hook.) H.Hara

Malus fusca, with the common names Oregon crabapple and Pacific crabapple, is a species of crabapple native to western North America.[1]


Malus fusca is a deciduous tree growing up to 13 metres (43 feet) tall, with a trunk 20–25 centimetres (8–10 inches) thick.[2] The leaves are 5–8 cm (2–3 in) long, dark green above, and both pale and fibrous beneath; they turn bright orange to red in autumn.[2]

The flowers are white or pale pink, blooming in spring. The fruits are small round apple-shaped pomes, about 2 cm (34 in) long and from red to yellow-green in colour.[3][4] They may stay on the tree until winter.[5]

The trees can reach at least 100 years of age.[2]


Archibald Menzies described the species in 1792 after finding it near today's Port Angeles, Washington.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The species can be found from Alaska, through British Columbia, to northwestern California. It grows in temperate coniferous forest, primarily in the Cascade Range and the Pacific Coast Ranges.[6][7][8][9][10]

The tree can grow in a variety of maritime conditions, its rootstock tolerating wet soils (including saltwater estuaries), poorly drained areas and heavy clay soils. It can be found in high-rainfall regions.[11][12]


It can be found growing along with red alder, bigleaf maple, willows, and cascara. Animals including grouse and bears eat the fruit.[2]


The oblong fruit can be eaten, but has a sour flavor.[13] The fruit can also be used for extraction of pectin, useful in helping make jams and jellies from other fruits, and is also made into jams and jellies itself.[14] The bark can be used as an herbal medicine. It is also grown in parks and gardens as an ornamental plant.[citation needed]

Pacific crabapple fruits were prized by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest as a food source,[13] and were gathered all along the coast. As a traditional medicinal plant, infusions of the bark and/or fruit were used, including for stomach disorders, skin and eye infections, and as an analgesic.[15]

The tree was also valued for its tough, resilient wood, used for making implements, and for its bark, used for a wide range of medicinal purposes.[16][17]


  1. ^ Plants for a Future−PFAF: Malus fusca
  2. ^ a b c d e Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. (2020) [1977]. Northwest Trees: Identifying & Understanding the Region's Native Trees (field guide ed.). Seattle: Mountaineers Books. pp. 247–248. ISBN 978-1-68051-329-5. OCLC 1141235469.
  3. ^ Malus fusca'- Árboles ornamentales (in Spanish)
  4. ^ Flora of North America, Malus fusca (Rafinesque) C. K. Schneider, 1906. Oregon or Western or Pacific crabapple
  5. ^ "Malus fusca: Western Crabapple". Portland Nursery. Retrieved 2022-08-04.
  6. ^ Biota of North America Program: 2014 county distribution map
  7. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 state-level distribution map
  8. ^ Calflora taxon report, University of California, Malus fusca (Raf.) C. Schneider Oregon crab apple, Oregon crabapple
  9. ^ University of Washington, Burke Museum
  10. ^ Biodiversity of the Central Coast: Pacific Crab Apple
  11. ^ Deur Keeping it Living. University of Washington Press, 2005, p. 13.
  12. ^ "Pacific Crabapple Project". Northwest Meadowscapes. October 29, 2017. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  13. ^ a b Little, Elbert L. (1994) [1980]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Western Region (Chanticleer Press ed.). Knopf. p. 461. ISBN 0394507614.
  14. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross (1953). A Natural History of Western Trees. New York: Bonanza Books. p. 506.
  15. ^ University of Michigan at Dearborn: Native American Ethnobotany of Malus fusca (Oregon Crabapple)
  16. ^ Deur, Douglas and Turner, Nancy J. Keeping it Living. University of Washington Press, 2005, p. 13.
  17. ^ Crabapples - University of Alaska Fairbanks description, photos, recipes

External links[edit]