This species is well known as one of the species complex of modern day apples found in Russia as well as other northern European countries where it naturally hybridizes. As humans brought it into cultivation, this particular variety was a kind of apple sauce apple and could easily made into paste as it not that juicy and produces supper clean fruit that are naturally lower astringency after frost. The fruits are considered to have the highest antioxidants of all apples. The flavor of this apple variety Niedzwetzkyana is thought to be another selection based on flowers and yields of the fruit. I was fortunate to get the seed what was thought to be one of the original trees that was produced by grafting. I grew the plants using seeds from this selection and found one tree that was the healthiest in foliage. This tree was planted on a windswept hillside. Today that tree is over 30 feet tall showing no signs of diseases or insects. The heavy yields weigh the branches down to the ground.
The fruit quality is very good for a crabapple and worthwhile even though pea sized and seedy. The flavor is like an apple cider concentrate with a tang to it. This tree could be grafted. Scionwood is available upon request with the order of the seeds. Some research suggests that this species crabapple is quite high in vitamins and minerals compared to todays modern apples. Many of the siberian apples are very high in vitamin C to the tune of 10 times todays modern apples. So incorporated these species types into the processed apple products would make them healthier in terms of vitamins and minerals.
White flowers are densely packed all along the branches come out in early to mid spring. Fruits ripen starting in September and will stay on into November until the birds consume them once they blet after a few frosts. The fruit does taste better latter in the ripening stage and that is the best time to harvest them for processing.
The fruit pictures showing are grown from seed which were selected from the seedlings as the most vigorous trees. These precocious trees fruit within their 4 the year from seed. The vigor is apparent in the second generation and can be further improved on with this seed source using more upright and strong growing crabapples with good resistance to foliar diseases.
To germinate the seeds: Add a lightly moist Canadian peat moss and store for 90-120 days in refrigeration at 34-38F. The seeds will begin to sprout around 90 days. You can then put them at room temperature to speed germination. Pluck these out or direct sow outside after danger of frost. This strain may have some doubly dormant seeds in it as well and this is common so do not throw out the seeds. They will sprout in the next round of dormancy. Normally this is only a small amount. You can also direct sow outdoors in the fall by planting 1/4 inch deep in sandy soil in the field. Tamp well and maintain a vole free area around the planting to prevent pilfering.
|Genus & Species||Malus pumila var. niedzwetzkyana|
|Seed Source||Michigan: cultivated grown originally from an arboretum collection which collected from Niedzwetzkyana.|
|Hardiness||Said to be one of the world's hardiest apple species. -35F to -40 F not a problem into zone 2 ish.|
|Height (ft)||30-50 ft. with equal width|
|Pollination Requirements||Self fertile. Will produce true to type and might be considered apomictic as far as I can tell.|
|Soil||Sandy or rocky soil is ideal. One of the few crabapples that can grow in incredibly dry soils and still remain vigorous.|
|Climate||Zone 2ish to Zone 7. Probably best in colder climates. No fireblight in hotter climates.|
|Ease of Cultivation||One of the best fruiting crabapples in terms of health giving properties. As small as the fruit is, it really is delicious when ripening after a few frosts. Loved by the birds to the point where the tree is totally stripped by early December. Practical for breeding as well as eating fresh off the tree once broken down a bit after frost. (Although kind of paste like as there is not a lot of flesh like a more normal apple.) I call the world's best flavored and smallest apple. Seedlings from it look identical in fruit. I selected 5 seedlings from this variety and they all are the same with slightly larger fruit and better precocity. But the original one has better flavor after frost is lower in astringency.|