Malus transitoria from the Greek melon, apple, and transitoria, meaning transient or short-lived. I imagine this refers to the blossom as I don’t think any other part of the plant can be so described. It is a native of north-western China and was first introduced into cultivation by the plant collector William Purdom in 1911.
It is a spreading tree to about 8m high with year round appeal. In the spring it is covered in a froth of white star-shaped flowers followed by delicate lobed leaves, hence its common name of cut-leaved crab apple. In autumn these leaves turn yellow to accompany the small yellow fruits. It received the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
Crab apples are very popular small trees and varieties such as ‘Evereste’, ‘John Downie’ and ‘Red Sentinel’ are often planted. But, Malus transitoria is just a little more unusual and considered by our members to be an invaluable addition to their gardens.
The featured image is Malus transitoria, courtesy of The Hardy Plant Society Image Library.