Purple Prince Crabapple – Malus 'Purple Prince'

Purple Prince Crab – Malus 'Purple Prince'
Height: 18 feet / 5 m / USDA zones 4 through 7
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Purple Prince Crabapple is 16 years old [2]
Purple Prince crabapple grows to 18 feet, with an equal spread. Red buds open to red-purple flowers to deep maroon fruit. This variety has excellent resistance to rust and powdery mildew, and good resistance to apple scab and fire blight [1].

Seventeen crabapple cultivars planted in 27 communities were evaluated as street trees. In most places, two cultivars were alternated within each of many plots. Cooperators in the Municipal Tree Restoration Program used standardized methods to measure them annually at the end of the growing period for 3 years and periodically afterwards until the ninth year.

Many differences were found in growth rate, height, crown width, and trunk diameter. Most cultivars had healthy foliage, though were infected with apple scab and insects. Basal sprouts were common, and low branching of broader cultivars also required periodic pruning especially in confined spaces.

Centurion®, Harvest Gold®, Red Jewel®, Spring Snow, and Sugar Tyme® are recommended as street trees based on the most extensive data. Adams, Donald Wyman, Prairiefire, Red Baron, and zumi Calocarpa also appear promising. [3]

Purple Prince Crabapple blossoms

Twenty six communities in Pennsylvania and Delaware planted trees represented in this report. Four of the communities had 2 tests planted in different years. Community representatives chose the planting sites with assistance by utility foresters, service foresters, and Extension urban foresters; 2 of these usually assisted each community.

A typical test consisted of 4 varieties planted alternately within 8 to 10 plots that could contain 4 to 16 trees each a total of 50 trees. All test trees were planted along streets and under electric conductors; the utility company arranged for removal of large trees that interfered with utility lines. Both cultivars for a community were ordered balled and burlapped from the same nursery, with a caliper of 4.4 or 5.1 cm (1.75 or 2 in.); heights ranged from 2.4 to 3.7 m (8 to 12 ft). The cultivar tests were planted between 1987 and 1996.

A trained cooperator inspected and measured the trees annually during the first 4 years, and then at 3-year intervals. During September or October, a service forester or Extension urban forester used standardized methods to measure tree height, trunk diameter at breast height (dbh), and crown width, and to classify foliage health, branch health, trunk health, maintenance needs, and an overall quality rating). Causes of damage such as disease, insects, drought, and mechanical injuries also were recorded. [3]


  1. Morton Arboretum tree & plant selector, 'Purple Prince Crabapple'
  2. Purple Prince Crabapple Morton Arboretum acc. 49-93*1 & 2, photos by Bruce Marlin
  3. Henry D. Gerhold, Journal of Arboriculture 26(1): January 2000, CRABAPPLE CULTIVARS
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Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees
Containing Hawthorns, Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums, Peach, Almond, Mountain-Ash and Whitebeam. Rosaceae is a large family of plants with about 3,000 species in ~100 genera. Crabapple and other fruit trees provide some of our most outstanding flowering ornamentals, as well as food for birds and other wildlife.
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