rick valley wrote:
>Are you sure you are looking at Malus fusca, Rick?
OK, I'll be serious- here's what I have seen: in many locations, abandoned
field and hedgerow trees, with fruit having many characteristics of Malus
fusca; yellow with a rusty blush on one side, and clustered. I reckon pure
fusca to have fruit @ 1 cm long, oval. Now often the size is larger-
typically 1.5 -2 cm. and they may be round rather than oval, and the clusters
are usually smaller in number of fruit, not a whole handful like with pure M.
fusca. (I suspect I am acquainted with some populations of M. fusca that were
highly selected by native people) The bark is often not such an ash grey and
scaly as pure fusca. I figure these trees are F1 fusca/apple crosses. I knew
one tree that was maybe a back-cross to apple; color pure fusca, round, 4
cm+, clusters of 2-3, juicy, tart, would have been a super tart cider apple,
the tree was GROANING with fruit. It's gone now. Many of the suspected
hybrids I know are in typical M. fusca habitat. I've talked this up with Ken
Priddy and Larry McGraw who've echoed my thoughts on it, Ken knows of many
hybrid crabs, but I haven't asked Pierre. With insect pollenation, and easy
inter-fertility and humans tearing out scrubby woodland and fencerows, I
think there is terrific pressure on Malus fusca. Of course, this is
speculation by someone w/o science training, I haven't done any DNA
sequencing, but it's what I see happening. And I'll be a geezer soon, now, I
turn 50 this year. (Well, I was serious for a little while)
> I keep seeing lots of
>other crab apple species, but very few M. fusca hybrids. I've seen lots of
>M. fusca in wet areas where other apples are unable to grow, though. I
>think that will help keep the species pure. Also a reason it should be
>looked at more closely - M. fusca can grow in wetter soils (I've seen them
>growing partly IN water) than any other apple and according to Dr. Westwood,
>is the most resistant to fireblight of all apples. Pierre Rotschky in
>Vancouver, WA has done a lot of study of the species and can tell more than
>I, though. I don't think he is a computer user, though. He has told me of
>some interesting local blueberry species he has found that I keep meaning
>to go see and haven't made it yet.
Those blues sound interesting!
Lon; I think I could sell quite a bit of Malus fusca seed with a bit of help
locating it and timing the harvest. the wetland nursery folks I know can't
get enough seed. That'd help preserve the species!
Rick Valley Northern Groves
PO Box 1236, Philomath, OR 97370
Mobile-(541)602-1315, hm.& msg. (541)456-4364 Bamboo catalog $3 or at
"Useful Bamboos and other plants? Permaculture education? Ecological design &
consultation centering on water,landform and horticultural systems"