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Malus × robusta (Carr.) Rehd.

Modern name

Malus × robusta (CarriŠre) Rehder


Pyrus microcarpa var. robusta Carr.

To this group of hybrids between M. baccata and M. prunifolia belong many of the plants that have been grown in gardens as Siberian crab or as Malus or Pyrus baccata. These hybrids differ from M. baccata in their larger fruits, which usually, though not invariably, bear persistent calyx-teeth at the top. Those which resemble M. baccata in having the fruits without calyx teeth can still be distinguished from that species by the larger size of the fruits and often by the greater downiness of the undersurface of the leaves, leaf-stalk, and calyx-tube.

When the hybrid Siberian crab first came into cultivation in this country is not known, but Bigg’s Everlasting crab (also known as the winter crab or Pyrus borealis) was, according to Loudon, raised in the Cambridge Botanic Garden from seeds received from Siberia in 1814, and this certainly belongs to M. × robusta. Other forms of this hybrid are known as the Cherry crab, the Red Siberian, and the Yellow Siberian, all of which were in cultivation soon after the middle of the last century. All have showy fruits which persist long on the branches.

cv. ‘Erecta’. – Of fastigiate habit. Raised at the Arnold Arboretum from seeds brought by Prof. Sargent from Peking in 1904.

cv. ‘Persicifolia’. – Leaves oblong-lanceolate, resembling those of a peach. The original plant was received by the Arnold Arboretum in 1913 from Veitch’s nursery as Pyrus species, Purdom 179 (Journ. Arn. Arb., Vol. 2, p. 55).

M. orthocarpa Lav., nom. nud. – This name sometimes appears in catalogues, though it has never been validated by a description. According to the German researcher Henning, crabs cultivated in various continental botanic gardens under this name are intermediate between M. baccata and M. prunifolia. A tree at Kew labelled M. orthocarpa was raised from a scion received from the Arnold Arboretum in 1889. It is near to M. baccata.



Other species in the genus