Crabapples – A Tree with Many Gifts


 The Fruits of a Crabapple  © 2011 Bo Mackison

Crabapple trees are among my favorite to photograph, as many of the cultivars are visually interesting in all seasons.

Spring brings trees covered with tiny flower buds that open into photogenic flowers with great visual impact. Walking in an arboretum or driving down a city street, it is not unusual to see trees in white or various pink shades. In spring, crabapple trees look like bouquets of densely packed blossoms. Summer crabapples provide greenery and are favorite hiding places for a variety of birds.

In autumn, many of the trees have leaves that turn brilliant colors ranging from yellows to oranges to orange-reds. The trees bear fruits which also vary in color depending on the cultivar type. Fruits range from yellow-greens to yellows, oranges, purples, and as seen in the photo, a bright cherry red. In winter the delicate shape of the tree is a photographic delight, especially when the trees do not drop their fruits.

A crabapple is only a crabapple if its fruit is less than two inches in circumference.

If larger, then they are apples. And yes, a crabapple is edible, though you might not like its taste in its natural state. Even birds that supplement their diet with these fruits often wait until late winter when there is little else available in the wild.

But edibility is not much of a consideration to a photographer. I love the deep reds of the fruits, how they asymmetrically hang from the branches, how they glow in the late autumn sun.

The difficulty appears when there are so many fruit laden branches in a single tree, and I spend much time studying and looking deeply at a one tree. Come to think of it, that’s really not a difficulty at all, but a gift to practice deep seeing, a gift in mindfulness.

The crabapple — a tree with many gifts. One only has to look, and see.


Bo Mackison is a photographer, owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  She is deeply seeing as she studies the changing of the seasons.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Such a gorgeous red color. I have to check if I can find a tree like that around here.

  2. crabapple never heard of it, we don’t have it here I guess

  3. They’re gorgeous!!! I don’t think I’ve seen crabapples as red as this!

  4. Joanne Keevers says:

    It’s wonderful sharing the results of your deep seeing, Bo. The crabapples are indeed intriguing little fruits and the blossoms simply stunning! 🙂

  5. I heaar they make great jam as long as you add enough sweetener. Great reds in the photo.

Leave a Reply