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Roberts Crab crab apple tree

Malus 'Roberts Crab'

Roberts Crab is an unusual crab-apple, grown both for its attractive ornamental qualities, and for culinary uses.

The abundant spring blossom is dark pink, and the leaves have a bronze tint.

Ripening in late summer, the crab-apples have an unusual dark purple color. They are also very large - the size of small apples.

The main attraction in the kitchen is that the purple fruits have a rich red flesh, making Roberts Crab an excellent variety for crab-apple jams and jellies.

The red flesh also contains anthocynanin compounds, which may have anti-oxidant qualities. A 2009 study by researchers at USDA found Roberts Crab to have particularly high levels of Cyanidin-3-0-galactoside.

The juice is a dark red claret color, which is darker than that of other red-fleshed crab-apples. The juice flavor is sharp and crab-like, and can be used in hard cider blends.

Roberts Crab crab apple trees for sale

  • Medium 1-year bare-root tree $34.25
    Mature height: 8ft-12ft after 10 years
    G.222 rootstock

How to grow

Unlike most crab apples this variety is not a good pollinator of other apple varieties..

Roberts Crab is very precocious, and is likely to blossom and fruit within a 1-2 years after planting. It grows with an attractive upright spreading form and is reasonably vigorous.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

Roberts Crab characteristics

  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • Self-fertilitySelf-fertile
  • Pollination group2
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • Picking seasonMid
  • UsesCulinaryJuiceHard cider
  • CroppingHeavy
  • Keeping (of fruit)2-3 weeks
  • Juice styleSharper
  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1950 - 1999
  • Fruit colorPurple
  • Fruit sizeVery large

Similar varieties

  • Malus domestica
    Almata
    Almata is a red-fleshed apple, with an acidic flavor. The blossom is deep red.
  • See also Pink Pearl
    Pink Pearl
    Pink Pearl features bright pink flesh, and pink apple blossom.
  • See also Redfield
    Malus domestica x Malus niedzwetzkyana
    Redfield
    An unusual apple / crab-apple cross, with distinctive red-flesh.