The ground is littered with these tiny apples after some pretty strong winds.
Crab-apples are an excellent source of pectin, and their juice can be made into a ruby-coloured preserve with a full, spicy flavor. A small percentage of crabapples in cider makes a more interesting flavour. As Old English Wergulu, the crab apple is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century. Crabapples are widely grown as ornamental trees, grown for their beautiful flowers or fruit, with numerous cultivars selected for these qualities and for resistance to disease.
Some crabapples are used as rootstocks for domestic apples to add beneficial characteristics. For example, varieties of Baccata, also called Siberian crab, rootstock is used to give additional cold hardiness to the combined plant for orchards in cold northern areas. They are also used as pollinizers in apple orchards. Varieties of crabapple are selected to bloom contemporaneously with the apple variety in an orchard planting, and the crabs are planted every sixth or seventh tree, or limbs of a crab tree are grafted onto some of the apple trees. In emergencies, a bucket or drum bouquet of crabapple flowering branches are placed near the beehives as orchard pollenizers. Because of the plentiful blossoms and small fruit, crabapples are popular for use in bonsai culture; however, because the tiny trees still show the abundant, full-sized fruit of normal crabapples, it is important to thin out the fruit so that the trees do not exhaust themselves.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Gore Gardens Southland New Zealand June 2011
Featured 13th June 2011