E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Malus fusca (Raf.) C.K. Schneid.
Pacific crab apple (Oregon crabapple)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5915)

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Distribution of Malus fusca
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The Pacific crab apple is a small deciduous tree or shrub that is found from Alaska south to California.

Species Information

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Tall shrub or small tree, 2-8 (12) m tall; branches armed with stiff, sharp, thorn-like spur-shoots; young twigs curly-hairy; bark brown, rough, shredding, the older bark deeply fissured.
Alternate, deciduous, lance- to egg-shaped, long-stalked, the blades 3-9 cm long, sharp-pointed at the tip, saw-toothed and often irregularly lobed, green and smooth or hairy above, paler and hairy below.
Inflorescences flat-topped clusters of 5 to 12 long-stalked flowers on short spur-shoots; corollas white to pink, fragrant, about 2 cm across, the petals 5, egg-shaped, 8-14 mm long; calyces hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes lanceolate, bent back, 3-5 mm long, deciduous; ovaries inferior; styles usually 3, smooth; stamens about 20.
Fleshy pomes (small apples), ellipsoid to egg-shaped, 1-1.5 cm long, green becoming yellow to reddish or purplish, 3- to 4-chambered; seeds 1 or 2 per chamber.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Yellow
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet, open forests, streambanks, upper beaches, shoreline thickets, estuary fringes, swamps and bogs in the lowland zone; common on coastal islands and adjacent mainland; N to AK and S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Malus fusca

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 121 1420
Slope Gradient (%) 0 6 120
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 208 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(47), CWH(280), ICH(10), SBS(2)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant. submontane to montane, Pacific North American shrub or broad­leaved tree. Occurs in cool mesothermal climates on wet to very wet. nitrogen-rich soils (Moder and Mull humus forms); its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Scattered in open­canopy forests on water-collecting sites; often inhabits brackish-water marshes and sites affected by ocean spray; rare on water-shedding sites. Characteristic of nutrient-rich wetlands.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Malus diversifolia (Bong.) M. Roem.
Malus fusca var. levipes (Nutt.) C.K. Schneid.
Pyrus diversifolia
Pyrus fusca Raf.
Pyrus rivularis Dougl. ex Hook.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References