The crabapple is a beautiful ornamental tree that is planted for its brilliant flower displays each spring. I indicate the species as Malus spp. because there is no one species that one can call crabapple. Most of the planted specimens today are the result of nursery crosses that produced trees with high numbers of brightly colored flowers. There are some crabapples native to the US like the Oregon crabapple (Malus fusca), the prarie crabapple (Malus ioensis) and the sweet crabapple (Malus coronaria). However, none of the ones in Harvard Yard are these species.

The crabapples over Pusey Library

The ones that are planted are likely a nursery hybrid. There are 32 crabapples in Harvard Yard, including 28 in the are around Lamont and Houghton Libraries. The crabapple is not a deep rooting tree, so it makes the perfect choice to be planted literally on top of Pusey Library. Underneath the large grove of crabapples is the Harvard Archives and Pusey Library which bloom every year in late April and early May. The University did a fantastic job in maintaining the continuity of green while adding new library space.

This crabapple blooms on the north side of Harvard Hall

The memorial church tower is framed by the flowering crabapples.

Crabapples have very small, bitter tasting fruit which can be made into jelly.


Created by Ryan Lynch

Map template courtesy the Harvard Planning and Allston Initiative

Last updated May 2, 2007