Robinson Crabapple – Malus 'Robinson'

Robinson Crabapple – Malus 'Robinson'
Robinson crab grows to 20 feet, originally hybridized at the 200-year-old Hobbs Nursery in Indiana.
Fruit Trees | Tree Encyclopedia | Tree Index

Robinson Crabapple - Malus 'Robinson'

Robinson crabapple grows 25 feet tall and 25 wide. It has an up / spreading form, with crimson buds and pink flowers. Apples are winter persistent, dark red. [3]

Crabapples (Malus) are the most stunning of spring flowering trees for Midwest landscapes and are a great choice for the home garden. Many of them are small in stature and can maintain visual interest throughout the changing seasons (spring flowers, fall fruit, textured bark and craggy branches in winter).

There are about 55 different species in the genus Malus, and there are innumerable cultivars available in the landscape trade. The Arboretum's Crabapple Collection was started in 1924. Part of this collection on the West Side participated in the National Crabapple Evaluation Program which evaluated new and disease-resistant varieties. As a result of the multi-year evaluation and additions, it has transformed into the West Side Malus collection which now contains 60 different kinds and over 140 specimens with highly desirable qualities. 

Some of the specimens in this collection are almost large enough to be considered shade trees, while others are quite small. There is a great variety of shape as well, from wide to upright and narrow, weeping, and multi-stemmed. There is variety in flower color, ranging from white to pink, red, purple, and crimson. Some flower buds will be one color, and then open up to a completely different color! Fruits range in size from smaller than a pea, to nearly the size of most apples; they can be red, purple, orange, yellow, or green. Some of the smaller fruits persist on the tree throughout winter, providing a splash of color in the cold months. [1]

Apple diseases: Disease resistance should be your first consideration [1]. Many resistant cultivars are available and recommended in order to avoid the most common disease problems [3]. Before making a selection, keep in mind that not all crabapples do well in every location. Disease intensity varies from region to region, and disease strength can vary from year to year. For instance, some crabapples will be more prone to disease susceptibility in areas with greater rainfall than in drier climates. Careful consideration of the following information will be helpful in choosing the right crabapple cultivar.

Apple scab is one of the most serious diseases from an aesthetic standpoint, but usually not a serious threat to the health of the tree. It is a fungal disease, which develops in cool, wet springs. On susceptible crabapples, apple scab causes spotting of the leaves, premature defoliation, and unsightly spots on the fruit. There are numerous cultivars that are resistant or very tolerant (still susceptible but with little defoliation) so choose one based on its resistance.  Cedar- apple rust is a less serious leaf-spotting disease common to our native crabapple cultivars. It is usually a problem in areas where native junipers (Juniperus) are planted. Selecting resistant cultivars can control this disease.

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can cause considerable damage to leaves and fruit of susceptible cultivars without threatening the health of the tree. Poor air circulation, close association with susceptible apple cultivars, and wet, humid weather conditions will greatly influence disease incidence and severity.

Fire blight is a serious bacterial disease of crabapples. Though it is less common then the others, if left untreated it can be fatal to susceptible crabapple cultivars. Select resistant cultivars [3].


  1. Morton Arboretum, Crabapple: A Tree For All Seasons
  2. Robinson Crabapple – Malus 'Robinson', Morton Arboretum acc. 2100-90*2  Credit: Bruce J. Marlin
  3. Morton Arboretum, Crabapples for the Home Landscape
  4. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program (GRIN), Malus prattii
  5. Morton Arboretum Online Collections Scientific Name Lookup, Malus prattii
Tree Encyclopedia / North American Insects & Spiders is dedicated to providing scientific and educational resources for our users through use of large images and macro photographs of flora and fauna.

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.
Tree Encyclopedia | Tree Index | Fruit Tree Index | Nut Trees