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There are hundreds of named
cultivars - 800 by one estimate. Some of them are near hopelessly
confused in the trade with multiple clones
and equally bad grafting styles. We have endeavored with the help of
some experts, leading literature, and recently published evaluations to
narrow down the list.
As ever, the New Ornamentals Society will be updating things as often as breakthroughs and new research merits. If you have a truly superior, well-tested, and documented cultivar to add here please write us with as much scientific evidence and descriptive detail as can be provided. If all you know is "pretty pink buds and lots of red fruit" you're out of consideration.
Your society editors felt that a purely alphabetical order would not be as helpful as groupings for major traits like double flowers, habit, flower color, and fruit color. Some cultivars fit in more than one group and are assigned more than once if all categories in which they excel. We've included some oddities with cherry-like bark, spicy fragrance, yellow bark, oddly colored fruit, lobed or cut leaves, and unusually shaped petals that will add interest to any arboretum.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to consult your local arboretum or extension service before planting crabapples in any quanity or in important, visible locations. Some publish good lists of the modern cultivars. They can assist us to determine which diseases are severe in specific area and which cultivars have performed the best. Your local garden, sad to say, probably only sells what is cheap or hyped to them without regard to our best interests. Many look you straight in the eye, lying or ignorant, and tell you some old cultivar does very well. They've never grown it and perhaps never seen it outside the sales yard. "Pretty pink" flowers can give way to a defoliated or dead tree by mid-summer. More than one landscape architect has ruined their rep (and been sued) for mistakes with the sometimes aptly named genus Malus. Some seem to go with the fanciest, fun-sounding trademark name or what is patented for some unknown reason to real horticulturists. If you have very profesional, worldclass garden center that actually reads current literature and consults with unbiased evaluators seek them out.
Also consider our list of doubles, some of which set little or no fruit. These are imporant for near walkways where abundant-fruitng clones can get messy and even very dangerous after a rain. There's nothing like slippery, molding, rotting fruit outside your client's lawfirm or a busy shopping entrance. Be careful and enjoy this amazing but troubled group of trees.
If you want more reading there is no better book than Fiala's Flowering Crabapples. It can be hard to find (2003) but most internet booksellers have a few around or will get you a decent used copy. I got a $25 copy of this sometimes $50 book with two bruised corners - which I would have inflicted in a week's time anyhow. Dirr's 1998 Manual has good comments but is already outdated and missing some of the good new stuff. Jacobson's underused North American Landscape Trees is also recommended for good discussions on history, nomenclature, and ornamental merit. Also consult the wholesale nursery websites. Run a google.com search for Malus plus any cultivar name (no quotation marks) and many interesting references will come up - many with frank and valid opinions of the cultivars.
Angel Choir - 12 foot upright, light pink
buds open double white, some dark red fruit, very disease tolerant so
ANNE E® 'Manbeck
Weeper' - broadly weeping, pink buds open white, bright red persistant
fruit, scab and blight resistant
YELLOW FRUIT - disease
Autumn Treasure -
semi-weeping, 10 ft. single, red buds open white, early
WHITE FLOWERS FROM
- Some of our favorites
Adirondack - compact, obovoid to erect, 2
in. flowers, yellow blushed red fruit, multiple disease resistance, from
Dr. Egolf's USDA breeding work
MISC. INTERESTING AND UNIQUE TRAITS
Bluebeard - 12 foot globose,
purplish-red flowers, bronzed leaf, fruit a very diffeent purplish-red
with blue bloom and tints, some scab and leafspot
RED FRUIT - a few favorites
baccata 'Halward' - 15 foot globose, white from
bud to open, floriferous, 1cm red fruit, dark glossy leaf, very disease
Amberina - strongly upright, dark red buds
open near white, very bright orange-red fruit, possible gold fall color
DARK TO RICH RED FLOWERS
AMERICAN MASTERPIECE™ -
oyramidal, very rich red flowers, dark red fall color, rich orange fruit
RICH PINK SINGLE FLOWERS -
Some of the better clones - see above for doubles, weepers
coronaria 'Coralglow' - 12 foot irregular
tree, dark pink buds open coral pink, large reddish-green fruit, valued
for late and very rich pink color
GOOD FALL FOLIAGE COLORS
Autumn Delight - weeping to broadly mounded,
pink buds open white, very nice yellow to orange and some red fall
DWARF AND VERY
COMPACT TO SEMI-DWARF
Butterfly - 8
foot dwarf, bright pink buds open lighter pink, unusual narrow petals,
bright red small fruit
PURPLE TO RED
AMERICAN SPIRIT™ -
smallish, globose, dark red buds open reddish-rose,
reddish-purple leaf, glossy dark red fruit
COLUMNAR TO VERY
Adirondack - compact,
obovoid to erect, 2 in. flowers, yellow blushed red fruit, multiple
disease resistance, from Dr. Egolf's USDA breeding work
vase-shaped to globose, large scented rose pink flowers, leaves tinged
dark red, nice dark fall foliage, greenish-yellow fruit