Crab apple is a common native tree of England, but becomes scarce further north. It is a tree most commonly found in ancient or semi-ancient woodlands. It forms a bushy, dense, thickly branched tree with a very broad crown.
True Crab apple should not be confused with apple trees seen growing at roadsides since many of these have originated from domestic apple seed.
Crab apple grows on almost all soil types, but prefers well-drained loam on chalky or clay soils.
The flowers are produced in April and are at first pure white. The twigs always have thorns.
The characteristic small apples are very sour, but produce an excellent jelly, wine or cheese. The wood is very hard and is often used for making mallet heads and tool handles and for carving. It is often used for making chess and draught pieces