Species list


Malus sylvestris

European crab apple

European crab apple (Eng), manzano silvestre, maíllo (Spa), maçaner, pomera borda (Cat), argamina, sagarmina (Baq), maceira brava, macieira brava (Glg), maceira-brava, maceira-silvestre, maçanzeira (Por).


“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

(Popular English proverb)


This small tree loses its leaves in winter and can be up to 12 m tall. The trunk is smooth and has yellowish-green bark that turns brownish-grey and cracks with age. The branches are abundant and occasionally thorny, and the crown is irregular. The leaves are simple, alternate, with a serrated margin. They are oval or elliptical and have a pointed tip. When young they are somewhat hairy, but are hairless when mature. The flowers have 5 free petals; they develop in groups and can be white or pink. The fruits are small greenish-yellow apples (pomes), up to 6 cm in diameter. In wild specimens these are generally very pockmarked by insects. They taste sour or bitter but are a little sweeter when very ripe.


This tree grows here and there, scattered throughout, for example, oak, beech, chestnut, and holm oak forests, on boundaries, in forest clearings, hedgerows and shady ravines, and almost never appears grouped together in groves. It grows from sea level up to an altitude of 1800 m.


This species ranges throughout Europe and southwestern Asia. On the Iberian Peninsula it is most easily encountered in the northern provinces and in the Central and Ibérico ranges; in the south it does reach the Sierra de Cazorla and Sierra Nevada mountains, but is never abundant.