So called because its gnarled and twisted twigs can appear crabbed or spiny, the branches of the one in our garden are still bending under the weight of their deep red fruit. I’m a little puzzled why the blackbirds and wood pigeons only tuck in occasionally – maybe they’re one of those things that don’t taste as good as they look. Around Otley you can still see crab apples with yellow or green fruit. As well as the birds, mammals such as mice and voles also like to eat crab apples. I’m looking forward to spring when the sweet-smelling blossom will be a significant early source of pollen and nectar for the bees. Over the centuries, crab apples have been associated with love, marriage and fertility, so a not inappropriate species to feature on Valentine’s Day.
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