Prairie Crab Apple
A large shrub to small tree with low, crooked branches; thicket forming from suckers.
Leaves alternate, simple, 1½–5 inches long, ¾–4 inches wide, variable; egg-shaped to widest in the middle and tapering at both ends, margin with shallow lobes, toothed; upper surface dark green, shiny, smooth; lower surface pale with white, densely matted hairs.
Bark thin, reddish-brown to gray, grooves shallow, scales narrow and persistent.
Twigs reddish-brown to gray, with densely matted hairs early; pores small and pale; twigs often with short lateral shoots or spurs, some spurs ending in a thorn.
Flowers April–May. Fragrant clusters of 2–5 flowers; flower stalks very hairy; petals 5, white or pink; cuplike green receptacle at the base of the petals densely hairy; stamens numerous.
Fruits August–September. Fleshy, applelike, about ¾-1¼ inches long, ¾-1½ inches wide, globe-shaped, greenish to yellow, sometimes with tiny yellow dots; surface waxy, greasy; pulp bitter, sour.