A tree of the same character as M. angustifolia and M. coronaria (q.v.), but differing in the much more downy branches, the down on which persists until the summer of the following year; side branchlets often spine-tipped. Leaves ovate or oval, 3 to 4 in. long, half or a little more than half as wide; persistently woolly beneath, coarsely toothed towards the apex. Flowers 11⁄2 to 2 in. across, white or rosy, four to six in a corymb; stalks 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, covered with white wool; calyx very woolly. Fruits 11⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. in diameter, dull yellowish green.
As has already been stated under M. coronaria, this tree is one of a closely allied group of N. American crabs, but it has a more western habitat than the other two, being found in the Central United States. It differs from both its allies in the much more downy branchlets, leaves, and other young parts of the tree (a frequent characteristic in the most western forms of American trees).
cv. ‘Plena’. Bechtel Crab. – In the year 1891, Messrs Bechtel, of Stanton, Illinois, USA, sent out this beautiful double-flowered crab under the name “M. angustifolia plena”. In the prevailing confusion as to the identity of these three species, it was also called “M. coronaria plena”. The individual flowers, which on young healthy plants measure 2 to 21⁄2 in. across, are perhaps the finest of the genus, the numerous petals being of a lovely delicate pink. With a delightful odour suggestive of violets, and coming to bloom in early June, this crab would seem to have all the virtues. But unfortunately it is of very poor constitution and evidently not well adapted to the British climate. See also M. coronaria ‘Charlottae’.
M. × soulardii (Bailey) Britt. Pyrus soulardii Bailey – This is the name for hybrids between M. ionensis and orchard apples (M. domestica), which are found occasionally in the wild in the Mississippi basin. Young stems woolly. Leaves broadly ovate or broadly elliptic, often blunt at the apex, coarsely toothed, downy beneath, sometimes slightly lobed. Fruits variable in colour and size (up to 2 in. or even more wide). The clone descended from the type is distinguished by Den Boer as ‘Soulard’.