Skip to Content

Crabapple vs. Apple – What’s the Difference?

Crabapple vs. Apple – What’s the Difference?
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Apple trees are truly beautiful and many people wish to have them on their properties. If you recently move to a new home, then you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that you have an apple tree.

Some people don’t know much about apple trees, though. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge about apple trees, then you might not even know the difference between crabapples and apples.

It’s easier than you might think to mix up crabapples and apples when you don’t know a lot about the topic. What’s the difference between the two anyway?

Read on to learn about crabapples and apples. You’ll be able to better understand the differences between the two.

This should help if you’re looking to choose a nice tree for your yard as well. It’ll just make it easier to pick out something that you’ll be truly happy with.

The Size of the Fruit Is the Main Difference

Holding a batch of freshly picked crabapples

The main difference between crabapples and apples is the size of the fruit. Crabapples are actually substantially smaller than apples.

A crabapple is going to be two inches or less in diameter. There are crabapple trees that produce much smaller fruit than that as well.

A legitimate apple is going to be larger than two inches in diameter. When you have an apple and a crabapple side-by-side, it’s going to be easy to see which is which.

So if you want to be able to tell whether you have an apple tree or a crabapple tree in your yard, then it’s best to examine the fruit. If the fruit is fairly small, then there’s a good chance that you’re looking at a crabapple tree.

Domestic apples will look a lot bigger and more similar to what you’d find at the store. Crabapple trees are wild apple trees that produce smaller fruits.

Some of the larger crabapples could be mistaken for small apples, though. Even so, you’ll get used to telling the difference between crabapples and apples once you’ve had more exposure to them.

There Are Many Different Types of Crabapples

Crabapples in a tree

There are many different types of crabapples as well. Some of them are going to be very small while others will be close to the size of normal apples even if they’re not quite there.

Some of the famous types of crabapples include chestnut, centennial, Whitney, pink sprites, dolgo, and hopa. There are more than a hundred species of crabapple trees out there.

In fact, crabapple trees are actually the only apple trees that are native to North America. That means that standard apple trees didn’t exist in North America until settlers brought apple seeds to plant on the continent.

Many of the wild apple trees that you’ll find in America and Canada will simply be crabapple trees. You might be disappointed to find out that you have a crabapple tree on your property instead of an actual apple tree, but that doesn’t mean that all is lost.

Crabapple trees can be very beautiful overall. Some of the trees are particularly stunning, and if you simply want a tree to add aesthetic appeal to your yard, then crabapple trees fit the bill.

Can You Eat Crabapples?

Baby bear getting ready to eat a crabapple

Yes, you can indeed eat crab apples if you want to do so. However, some of them aren’t going to taste very good.

Most people have heard that you aren’t supposed to eat crabapples. It’s true that you might get a bit of a sour stomach if you eat a wild crabapple, but many of them are going to be perfectly edible.

Some of the bigger crabapples will be the best ones to try to eat if you’re interested in trying one. They aren’t anywhere near as sweet as different apple varieties, though.

If you wish to plant a crabapple tree that will bear fruit that you can eat, then you should consider going with a dolgo tree. These are some of the sweeter crabapples out there.

The sour nature of many crabapples causes many to steer away from them. You might like crab apples better if you use them to make some type of jam or jelly.

Many have made crabapple sauces and butter as well. When you make butter using crabapples, it’s going to have a fun pink appearance, and it’ll have a sweet and tart vibe that will appeal to many people.

Often, when people make things using edible crabapples, they’ll need to add sugar to the mix to sweeten things up. Without the sugar, everything would be far too tart.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t nice to be able to enjoy butter, jams, and jellies that have been made using crabapples. You might just discover that you like them quite a bit if you choose to make some.

Crabapple Trees Are Most Often Grown for Ornamental Purposes

Ornamental Crabapple Tree

You should know that crabapple trees are most often grown for ornamental purposes. People aren’t as likely to grow crabapple trees because they wish to utilize the fruit in their cooking or baking.

As mentioned above, many crabapple trees produce edible fruit. Even the edible fruits aren’t going to be as sweet as the fruit that’s produced by standard apple trees.

There are lots of crabapple trees out there that are purely ornamental as well. This means that the fruit produced by the tree won’t even be edible.

Some of these ornamental trees produce gorgeous flowers, and they can really boost the charm of your garden area. Depending on what you want out of a tree, it might be very good to plant a crabapple tree on your property.

You just have to go into this with the right expectations. Crabapples aren’t necessarily going to be edible, and even those that are won’t be able to be directly compared to apples.

Final Thoughts

The information above should give you a lot more knowledge when it comes to crabapple trees and apple trees. The difference between these two types of trees isn’t always easy to understand when you don’t know a lot about crabapples.

Crabapples are a lot smaller than apples, and some crabapples aren’t even going to be edible. There are many edible crabapples, but they’re not going to be as sweet as traditional apples.

Some might be sweet enough to eat right off of the tree, but most will be somewhat sour. There are certain crabapples that will make you feel as though you have a sour stomach after eating them.

It’s more popular to make things with the crabapples such as jam or jelly. Crabapple-based butter can actually be really good as well.

They add sugar to these food items to give them a bit of extra sweetness. It produces a sweet and tart combination that is rather appealing.

Crabapple trees are more popular as ornamental trees, though. Some of them produce fantastic flowers that will make your yard look more beautiful than ever.

Apple trees can also be quite stunning, but they also have the appeal of producing fruit that you can harvest and use for baking. It’s up to you to decide what types of trees you want in your yard.

Take the information that you learned and make an informed decision for your property. If you already have a crabapple tree or an apple tree in your yard, then you’ll understand how to best enjoy it now.

--

If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel