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Galloway Crab Apple Action

There is only one native apple in the UK (Malus Sylvestris), the crab apple. But it will hybridise with other – non-native – species and what we see growing might not be the true native crab apple. Galloway’s crab apple population seems to be extraordinarily native in its make up compared to other areas. In recent years, a project has been underway, exploring why we have such a high proportion of native crab apple trees, why they have retained their purity and what this means for modern considerations such as resilience of food production.

This work, the results uncovered and why this matters was explored at a public event in January 2023, delivered in partnership between Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands and Jools Cox from the South West Community Woodlands Trust. This event was recorded and is available here:

The project produced and drew upon a series of written outputs of interest, compiled here for ease:

  1. Project Overview
  2. Q&A used at the January 2024 Event
  3. Crab Apple Uses + Recipes
  4. Crab Apple propagation & Planting guide
  5. References list used
  6. Ecology and Genetics of Scotland’s Native Wild Apple Malus sylvestris
  7. The inadequacy of current carbon storage assessment methods for rewilding: A Knepp Estate case study – Burrell – 2024
  8. Evolution in Future Forests – Article from The Geographer (Winter 2023)
  9. Crab Apple Legends

As part of the project outputs, a Tea Towel was produced, mapping the native crab apple trees identified, with the following image. A few copies of the tea towel are still available (£10 each), contact for details.

With thanks to all involved…particularly: Richard Cunningham & Mary Ann Smyth for support all the way through, Rick Worrell and Markus Ruhsam for their research, Ross Fleming for Tea Towel design, Jen Stephenson & Mary Ann Smyth for photos and all the citizen scientists who helped and are still helping by collecting leaves, planting seeds and spreading the word!