Southern Crabapple

Malus angustifolia


Southern Crabapple – Malus angustifolia – in bloom

Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA - January 16, 2016

Cedar Waxwing eating last year’s fruit

A large, old crabapple is just outside our office window.  It’s one of out favorite trees, and all manner of wildlife love it.  Native Bees and Honey Bees are drawn to its beautiful pink blooms in the spring.  Birds love the fruit, which will cling to the tree and even provide food in the cold winter months.

Also known as Narrow-leaf Crabapple, This tree is a native to the eastern and south-central United States from Florida west to eastern Texas and north to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Missouri.

This video was taken on rare day in January when there was a little snow on the ground. These birds are feeding on fruit that was still on the crabapple.

Identification and Description

Malus angustifolia

Southern Crabapple – Malus angustifolia

It is an attractive flowering tree when in bloom. Flowers are pink, 1.5 inches across, and borne in clusters. Flowering time varies from late February in south Georgia to mid April in north Georgia. Fruit are yellow-green, approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, edible and very tart. [1]

Adapted to Georgia hardiness zones:    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b  [1]    Atlanta is zone 7b.

Supported Wildlife and Other Uses


native Bee on Southern Crabapple bloom

The Southern Crabapple is of special value to native bees and is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of native bees.  It’s also important to honeybees. [3]

Fruits are eaten by whitetail deer, bobwhites, grouse, pheasants, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, skunks, foxes and many small birds. [2]

Its fruit is occasionally used for jelly, preserves and cider. Its hard, heavy wood makes excellent tool handle, levers, and small wooden ware articles. [2]

References and Additional Information

[1]  UGA Extension: Native Plants for Georgia Part I: Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines (B 987) – Narrow-Leaf Crabapple (Southern Crabapple)
[2]  UDSA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Plant Plant Sheet – Southern Crabapple
[3]  Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center: Malus angustifolia
[4]  Wikipedia: Malus angustifolia