Friday, November 20, 2015

Cut-leaved Crab-apple (Malus transitoria)

A line of mystery trees growing beside the Avon, just E. of the bridge in Chippenham town centre. I took a few snaps (this was on 7th October), then tried to match them to something on the internet by using vague search terms like "tree golden fruit red stalks", couldn't find anything and gave up.

But today I was reading the latest post on Non Morris' exceptional blog The Dahlia Papers, and everything fell into place. These photos are of Malus transitoria, a species crab-apple native to NW China, commonly called the Cut-leaved Crab-apple.

Small golden fruit with a brown eye, on long red stalks.  All rather un-apple-like.

Also un-apple-like were the variously lobed leaves, as shown in this out-of-focus shot.  Only the distal (older?) leaves were lobed; they are larger than the inner leaves.

The shoot is burgundy-coloured, as you can just about see in the photo below.

Non Morris, a garden designer,  said this was her favourite variety of crab-apple. Anyway it's fired me up to learn more about Malus, a genus that, according to some recent DNA analyses, ought possibly to be considered a mere branch of Sorbus.

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