Native Shrubs ... in wildlife
West Virginia Native Plant Society
West Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program
Wild Crabapple - Pyrus coronaria
Southern (Narrowleaf) Crabapple - P.
||Large 1 to 2 stemmed shrub or small tree
to 30 feet tall, often forming dense thickets.
||Bark and Twigs:
||Twigs with sharp 1 inch long spines and
light gray color, older bark of long reddish-brown
||Deciduous, alternate and simple.
Wild - Base and tip rounded, smooth.
Southern - Egg-shaped with a flat base
and sharp tip, hairy below.
||Pink when opening then white, very
fragrant and showy, 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide.
||Yellowish-green apple that is very
bitter, 1 inch diameter, persistent over winter on the
- Wild - Common throughout.
Southern - Glades and swamps of higher elevations in
Preston, Webster, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Hardy and Raleigh
- Natural Habitat:
- Openings in swamps, old fields and forest borders.
- Wildlife Use:
- Twigs are browsed by deer. The flowers are very good for
bees and butterflies. Old fruits which persist on the
ground are eaten by raccoon, quail, turkey, foxes and
deer in late winter when other foods are gone. These can
be the difference between life and death. The dense
thickets and thorny branches provide excellent shelter
and nesting sites.
- Uses: Specimen, individual tree for
Light: Full sunlight.
Soil Moisture: Wet to dry, best in
well-drained, loam soils.
Soil pH: Acid to alkaline, very
Problems: Short lived tree to 20 or 30
years age. Is an alternate host for cedar apple rust.
Therefore areas with red cedar may want to be avoided.
Commonly affected by apple scab and fire blight diseases,
especially if not planted on good sites.
- Other: The sour fruits can be used to
make excellent tart jellies and preserves or for cider.
Compiled by: William N. Grafton, naturalist,
botanist and wildlife specialist, West Virginia University,
Morgantown, West Virginia
Written by West Virginia Native Plant Society
members and jointly published with the WV Nongame Program
Illustration from Flora of West Virginia,
Strausbaugh and Core