Prairie Crabapple – Malus ioensis

Prairie Crabapple – Malus ioensis

color photo prairie crabapple blossoms

Known for its showy and fragrant flowers, Prairie crab  has been cultivated since 1885.

Prairie Crabapple is a deciduous tree with a rounded, spreading crown growing to 30 feet tall.  Leaves alternate or clustered, simple; elliptic, oblong, or oblong-ovate, 4-13 cm (1.5-5 in) long and 2-10 cm (0.8-4 in) wide; glabrous above, glabrous to densely white tomentose beneath; dark green and lustrous above, rounded or cuneate at base; acute, obtuse or rounded at apex; margins singly or doubly crenate-serrate, some leaves with deep lobes; petioles slender, white tomentose, becoming less so with age.

Flowers in clusters, pedicels pubescent, 2.5-4 cm (1-1.5 in) long, with 2-5 flowers; calyx 5-lobed, lanceolate-acuminate, densely white tomentose; petals 5, white or pink, obovate, base narrowed into a claw; styles 5, with dense white hairs; stamens numerous; flowers appear from April to June.

Prairie Crabapple

Prairie Crabapple is 42 years old [2]. Ioensis refers to the state of Iowa

Fruits pomes, 2-4 cm (0.8-1.5 in) in diameter, globose, compressed at the ends, green-yellow, waxy or greasy to the touch; fruits mature September to October. [4]

Prairie Crabapple tolerates wet soil, rabbits, deer and pollution, but is not disease resistant. Grows best in full sun, and is most attractive when fed peat moss and compost. Distribution: Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas, east to Alabama, north to Minnesota. Rare. Habitat: moist soils along streams and woodland borders.

Prairie Crabapple blossoms


  1. Morton Arboretum, Crabapple: A Tree For All Seasons
  2. Prairie Crabapple, Morton Arboretum acc. 277-67*2, photos: Bruce Marlin
  3. Morton Arboretum, Crabapples for the Home Landscape
  4. Oklahoma Biological Survey, Malus ioensis (Wood.) Britt.

Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees
Trees Index | Pine Family | Beech, OakNut Trees | Birch Family | Magnolias

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