European crab apple

The ancestor of cultivated apple trees 🍏🍎🌳
The European crab apple (Malus sylvestris) is one of the ancestors of cultivated apple trees, obtained after centuries of selections and improvements. It is a small tree with branches that are sometimes thorny. The large flowers 🌸, with five petals, are white or pink on the outside and are very fragrant, attracting pollinating insects 🐝🦋.
The fruits 🍏, with a yellowish-green color, are small, tart, and hard, but they can be used for jams, preserves, and wine. They are highly sought after by birds.
The plant is a host for the Scarce swallowtail butterfly 🦋 (Iphiclides podalirius) and the Eyed Hawk-moth (Smerinthus ocellatus).
⁉️ Did you know? 😲
It is estimated that since the beginning of cultivation, over 10,000 cultivated varieties of apple trees have been selected, but most of them have been lost.
Photo Hans Hillewaert, via Wikimedia Commons