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News Releases Archive (Prior to 2011)

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: Apple or crabapple? (for the week of Oct. 28, 2001)

October 17, 2001

Dear Twig: What's the difference between an apple and a crabapple? Basically only their size. Crabapples, by definition, are 2 inches or less in diameter. Apples are more than 2 inches around. Both come from trees that are in the same genus, Malus, of which there are many species and hybrids. Apple trees are grown for their apples, of course, which are eaten as is, are used in baking, or are made into cider, sauce, juice and jelly. Common varieties include McIntosh, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Melrose, Fuji and Gala. Crabapple trees, meanwhile, are mainly planted because they’re pretty. Red, white or pink blossoms burst open in spring. And the crabapples themselves often hang on through the winter. They look nice -- they’re red or yellow -- and sometimes are eaten by birds. Gardeners can choose from hundreds of varieties. Among them are Molten Lava, Prairifire, White Angel and Strawberry Parfait. Most of the crabapple trees that are sold and grown today produce smaller crabapples: from about a quarter of an inch in diameter to about three-quarters of an inch. The smaller ones make less mess for gardeners! Crabappily, Twig Hey Editor! Ken Cochran, curator, Secrest Arboretum, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State University, reviewed this article. "Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick," a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is a weekly science column for kids. "Twig" is a bow tie-wearing cartoon walkingstick, a type of insect. He's the voice of the column and appears at the left in the hard-copy version. "Bob the Bug," Twig's pal, is a bald-headed bug of an unidentified type who doesn't say much and appears in the bottom-right corner. For more information or to receive "Twig" columns by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt Knebusch, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691, (330) 263-3776,

Kurt Knebusch
Ken Cochran