Red Peacock Crabapple – Malus 'Red Peacock'

Red Peacock Crabapple – Malus 'Red Peacock'
An abundant flower & fruit producing crab reaching 25 feet with excellent disease resistance.
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Red Peacock Crabapple - Malus 'Red Peacock'

Red Peacock at Crabapple Lake is 19 years old [2]
‘Red Peacock’ crabapple was discovered in 1969 and patented in 1989, being a controlled cross of seed parent Malus 'Molten Lava' with pollen parent Malus 'Luwick' x 'Zumi'. The cultivar was tested at the famous Klehm Nursery at Barrington, (northern) Illinois, and found to have the following characteristics:

    • Abundant annual large coral-pink buds open to soft pink, 1 to 1.25" ruffled blossoms
    • Well-textured mint-green, disease resistant foliage is light & airy in appearance
    • Bears abundant, winter-persistent shiny orange-red apples (no fruit drop)
    • Upright habit when young becoming somewhat semi-weeping at maturity

"A fully mature tree at 30 years will reach 20 to 25 feet tall and a spread of 20 feet."
The specimen pictured here is 19 years old.

'Red Peacock' is resistant to the five most common crabapple diseases; apple scab, cedar-apple rust, fire blight, frog-eye leaf spot and powdery mildew.  "Due to its form and prolific flowering/fruiting habit, (red peacock) is unique and readily distinguishable from other flowering crabapple varieties" (boilerplate patent claim).  "Grows well in ordinary soil and is especially well-suited for smaller landscapes where heavy blossoms and an abundant display of bright orange-red fruit is desired. There is no messy fall fruit-drop, as the fruit is quickly eaten by birds in late winter." [1]

Disease resistance should be your primary consideration. Many resistant cultivars are available and recommended in order to avoid the most common disease problems. 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. There are four diseases that seriously affect crabapple:

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, and red peacock should fit the bill.

Red Peacock Crabapple trees


  1. Red Peacock Crabapple U.S. Patent number: PP7022, Sep 12, 1989 (PDF)
  2. Red Peacock Crabapples, Morton Arboretum accs. 73-90-1,2 & 3, photos: Bruce J. Marlin
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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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