Crabapple Blossoms: A Floral Emblem of Love and Renewal

Ornamental trees make a great focal point, giving more structure and framework to any landscape design. One example is the flowering crabapple (Malus spp.), a well-recognized ornamental tree closely related to orchard apples. The crabapple blossom adds beauty and symbolic value to home gardens by showcasing an abundant bloom of fragrant flowers and attractive small fruits. Read on below to learn more about crabapple blossom’s meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers.

Crabapple Blossom Meaning, Popular Types, and Growing Tips

Crabapple Blossom Symbolism – Key Takeaways 

The crabapple blossom is associated with love, marriage, and fertility. The crabapple flowers are also symbolic of youth, surprise, and joy. There’s a traditional belief that if you throw a crabapple seed into the fire while saying your special someone’s name, it’s true love if the seed explodes. 

Etymological Meaning

Crabapple trees originated in the Tien Shan mountains of Central Asia (now Kazakhstan). Their popularity as small trees started when the Romans brought them to Europe around the 18th century. From there, plant breeders developed more cultivars suited for ornamental use. The species eventually reached North America, where they remain a popular choice for gardens up to this day.

The etymology of the term “crabapple blossom” comes from the word “crabapple” itself, which is associated with the crabapple tree or its fruit. Let’s break it down:

The term “crabapple” doesn’t have a direct connection with the marine crustacean “crab”. Instead, the name is believed to come from the sourness of the fruit, which might make a person’s face pucker as if bitten by a crab.

The Old English word for crabapple was “crabæppel”, where “crab” could mean something sour or bitter and “æppel” meant apple. So “crabapple” essentially referred to a sour or bitter apple.

This term comes from Old English “blostm”, “blosm” which means “flower of a fruit tree” (also “flower of any sort”).

Crabapple Blossom Meaning & Symbolism 

Crabapple Blossom Meaning & Symbolism

In the language of flowers, the crabapple blossom is often associated with fertility, marriage, and love. It is also a symbol of youth, surprise, and joy. The flowers come in different colors, including white, pink, and red.

There’s a traditional belief that if you throw a crabapple seed into the fire while saying your special someone’s name, it’s true love if the seed explodes. 

Crabapple Blossom in Art and Literature

Crabapples play an exciting role in arts and literature. You’d often read about them in books and see them in paintings and other artworks. In Japan, flowering branches are part of ikebana or traditional floral arrangements. There are also crabapple references in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour Lost. 

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Crabapple Blossoms

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Crabapple Blossoms

Crabapples are prevalent as ornamental trees, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t make an excellent gift. Crabapple blossoms, in particular, are also used in bouquets and other floral arrangements. One example is the Malus’ Wedding Bouquet,’ which is perfect for weddings.  

Dwarf varieties, on the other hand, can be gifted in containers or big pots. Another popular gifting option is a crabapple tree sapling. It’s a great choice when buying a gift for someone special or a friend who likes plants. Known as the “Tree of Love,” crabapple trees are a favorite for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations. 

Wrap Up

Crabapples have long been a classic favorite in any landscape design and garden. The small to medium deciduous trees put on a real show in spring with their beautiful, fragrant blooms in white, pink, or red shades. More than the crabapple’s popularity and attractive features are meanings and symbolism that offer endless possibilities. Generally, crabapple trees and flowers are a symbol of fertility, love, and marriage. They are also relevant in different cultures, as well as in arts and literature. 


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