malus-fusca

Malus fusca (syn. Malus diversifolia, Pyrus fusca) is our only native crabapple – easily discernible from its east coast cousins by the oblong shape of the fruit – and is a good large shrub/small tree for attracting birds to the garden.

One of its advantages to gardeners in this region is its tolerance of heavy clay soils and winter wet weather – it would be a good candidate to plant at a bioswale or disconnected downspout. Its abilities as a “wetlander” give it an important edge over showier crabapples in certain settings.

Once established, it isn’t adverse to drier conditions in the summertime, so its love of wetter situations doesn’t have to be maintained year-round. Full sun suits it best, but it is tolerant of partial shade (though fruit production might diminish a bit with less sun).

Malusfusca

This crabapple will grow as a multi-stemmed shrub or attractive small tree – in any case it may require some pruning if it tends to start to form a (undesirable) thicket – suitable for a variety of garden settings.

What are mistaken for thorns along the stem are actually spurs from which the flowers and later fruit emerge, not nearly as sharp as they appear (but do serve as a protection to smaller birds).

In April – May, small clusters of fragrant white to pink simple flowers appear, followed by clusters of tiny fruit of yellow to reddish purple which often persist into the winter, providing late-season food for a variety of birds. The fruit is edible by humans, though it is quite sour; any jam or jelly would require the addition of considerable sugar to make it palatable.

malus-fusca
Malus fusca: Western Crabapple

Find Natives for your garden

We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.

Natives

Abies: Native Fir

Natives

Acer Circinatum: Vine Maple

Natives

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Natives

Attracting Butterflies

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Natives

Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Natives

Edible Fruits

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Natives

Native Ferns

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Natives

Attracting Hummingbirds

Natives

Native Iris

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Malus fusca

Western Crabapple
Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Natives

Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Natives

Pinus: Native Pine

Natives

Quercus: Garry Oak

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Natives

Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Natives

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Sedum: Stonecrop

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Natives

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Natives

Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush
Natives

Viola: Violet

Natives

Winter Interest