Wild apple (Malus sylvestris)
The wild apple is a small tree and reaches a maximum height of 10 meters. However, it often grows like a shrub and reaches heights of 3-5 meters. Its bark consists of gray-brown, longitudinally cracked scale bark. The stalked leaves are ovate and roughly serrate on the edge. The pink white flowers appear in April before the leaves shoot. Its spherical fruits are yellowish green and taste bitter, sour and woody. That is why the wild apple is also called crab apple. They reach a size of 2.4 cm.
The wild apple grows on nutrient-rich, moderately dry to moist, sandy-loamy soils. He loves lime and does not tolerate waterlogging. Since it needs a lot of light, it has become rare today. Wild apples grow today in warm, low-lying areas in light oak-shaped mixed deciduous forests. It is to be seen as a relic of the warm-season oak forests. Due to its drought tolerance and the great need for light, the wild apple is well suited for the forest fringes of climate-stable mixed forests.
The early flowering of the wild apple in April makes it an important supplier of nectar for many insects. Its fruits serve as food for various animals such as the badger or the hedgehog. Wild apples often develop hollows or holes in their stems with age. These serve as nesting quarters for many animals such as the little owl.
The economic importance of the wild apple is relatively small, as the trunk diameter and length are too small for the production of sawn timber. Its wood is therefore mainly used as firewood, although it is very decorative.
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