All members of this genus contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide in their seeds and possibly also in their leaves, but not in their fruits. Hydrogen cyanide is the substance that gives almonds their characteristic taste but it should only be consumed in very small quantities. Apple seeds do not normally contain very high quantities of hydrogen cyanide but, even so, should not be consumed in very large quantities. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Fruit - raw or cooked
. A bitter flavour[K]. Fruits we have tasted have been astringent rather than bitter, though some cultivars and forms are not at all bitter. A fruit of the species, tasted at Kew in October 1991, had a sweet pleasant taste, was mealy and of low acidity[K]. The fruit can be used fresh or in preserves etc. The fruit is about 20mm in diameter
, though some forms are considerably larger[K].
This species is an excellent stock for grafting apple trees
There are no material uses listed for Malus prunifolia.
There are no medicinal uses listed for Malus prunifolia.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It usually germinates in late winter. Stored seed requires stratification for 3 months at 1°c and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as it is received
. It might not germinate for 12 months or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. If given a rich compost they usually grow away quickly and can be large enough to plant out in late summer, though consider giving them some protection from the cold in their first winter. Otherwise, keep them in pots in a cold frame and plant them out in late spring of the following year.
Cuttings of mature wood, November in a frame
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Malus prunifolia. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most fertile soils, preferring a moisture retentive well-drained loamy soil
. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a sunny position but succeeds in partial shade though it fruits less well in such a situation
Highly resistant to frost and drought, this species is being used to a limited extent in breeding programmes for cultivated apples.
The cultivar 'Hyslop' has edible fruits 4cm in diameter.
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.
The fruit is a good wildlife food source, especially for birds.
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Malus prunifolia. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Malus prunifolia.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? 1.01.11.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
? 2.02.12.22.18.104.22.168.72.82.9 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? 3.03.13.2 [Flora of China] (1994-00-00)
? 4.04.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
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