wild crab apples


“Almost all wild apples are handsome. They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye.”
Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples

I think that perhaps we are a lot like the wild apple—not all handsome nor perfect but instead rather gnarly, a bit disfigured, lumpy, bumpy, less than perfect…and yet, there is something thankfully redeeming in us all…..It would greatly behoove each of us to remember such when we look at those who we feel are full of imperfection, who appear “less than” in our eyes and who are a bit gruff and gnarly….as we all have our little imperfections–be they external or internal—






(photographs: wild crab apple tree/ Troup County, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2013)

16 comments on “wild crab apples

  1. nonfatlatte says:

    And remember, the prettiest apple of all was poisonous! 🙂
    From your gnarly friend.

  2. Amy says:

    Wow! As a young child growing up in Georgia and Tennessee, I remember eating the bitter green apples pictured above. I made myself sick on them but they were so delicious. I remember my aunt also used to salt them as she ate them. I have not seen them in decades and now the sight of those little green beauties with black spots has my mouth watering. I am glad I stumbled upon this site and am going to bookmark your blog. Hope you have a great day. 🙂

    • Hi Amy–thank you for your lovely comment–it is amazing how something as simple as the picture of a crabapple can conjure up such happy memories from out past. . .
      Please know that you are welcome back here any time–

      • Chris N says:

        Hello! I just commented on another post referencing these crabapples. I live in North GA and grew up eating them. I’ve been looking for some way to plant them on my property, but have been having trouble locating them. I would love to learn more!

        Thank you – Chris

      • Scott Woodall says:

        Chris, see my last post

  3. Kelly says:

    Do you have any idea what variety these are? My husband loves those things and his old tree is dying. I have been trying to find a tree with the big green crab apples to replace the ones he has lost the last couple years.

  4. Scott Woodall says:

    Cookie, I live in Flowery Branch , (Gainesville),Ga. I’ve been trying to find the crab apple trees for years. As a kid in Phenix City,Al, we would get these crab apples and pickle them in salt water. They would last for months. The water would turn brown. They have a taste similar to an olive. I would like to plant these to grow the crab apples. Do you have any thoughts on where they can be purchased? These apples are very tart / sour. My grandfather was a moonshiner, I remember men taking a drink of moonshine, and chasing it with a bite of the crab apple. Let me know if you have a suggestion on where to find them to plant.
    Take care,

    • Oh what a great memory Scott! Yep apple moonshine— I think we now call that apple brandy 😊
      Since these are wild growing near Lagrange, Ga I would suggest a county extension agency or even the Ag center at UGA for suggestions— thank you for sharing!

    • Scott Woodall says:

      Update : I did a search on growing oak trees from acorns. My wife and I went to the 911 Mem, fall 2 years ago. I picked 4 acorns off the ground, and put them in the frig like the article said. 2 have made trees, so if they live I havew 2 trees from the 911 Mem. I took the same idea, and picked up some crab apples saved the seeds and now have 2 small trees I’ll plant this fall.

  5. John Gil says:

    Greetings, I’m seeking to identify a crabapple-like fruit in my mother’s back yard in Covington, GA. It looks a little like a kumquat and it has bright orange fruit with a strong bittersweet smell. No, I did not taste it. 🙂 The fruit has only just now ripened AFTER the leaves fell off the small tree.

    Here’s a link to a Facebook post asking the same question:

    Thanks, John

    • Thanks John for your question—sounds more like a little calamondin tree—which is native to Florida—and is similar to a kumquat but more bitter.
      They do not survive our winters. I have one in large pot that I have to move to the basement during the winter…but as for crabapples, I just know the wild ones….
      I wish I could be of better help…

  6. Holbert Long says:

    They look like the widespread native American persimmons. These will have flat brown seeds and the flesh will slowly become less astringent and edible as they become mushy. The trick is to get them before they really start to decompose and before the animals do. Good luck.

  7. Chicketha Johnson says:

    Where can I find these trees in Dayton and can I buy the crabapples can I have them shipped to my house

  8. garrett l.dukes says:

    Ms.cook I love crabapples, please can I pick some.in my family we love them.

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