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Shrub or tree 5–7 m. Branchlets slender, reddish brown, pubescent when young. Buds ovoid, reddish brown, scales with villous margins. Leaves deciduous, 4–7 × 3.5–6 cm, broadly ovate, somewhat pubescent on both surfaces, though hairs soon eroded on the upper surface, margins doubly serrate with three to six lobes, apex acute; petiole 1.5–2.5 cm long, pubescent; stipules caducous, ~0.6 cm long, pubescent. Corymb 4–6.5 cm diameter, somewhat umbel-like, with 5–10 flowers. Flowers ~1.5 cm diameter; hypanthium bell-shaped, sparsely pubescent; sepals triangular-ovate, shorter than hypanthium; petals pinkish white, ovate, 0.7–0.8 cm long; stamens ~20. Styles three to four. Pome yellowish green with a red blush, subglobose, ~0.8 cm diameter with persistent sepals. Flowering May, fruiting August to September (China). Fiala 1994, Gu et al. 2003. Distribution CHINA: Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Shanxi. Habitat Thickets on slopes and in valleys, between 800 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 5. Conservation status Not evaluated. Cross-reference K287.
Malus honanensis is one of the low-growing, rather bushy small-fruited Chinese crabapples – somewhat resembling M. yunnanensis, to which it is related and from which it differs only in number of styles (five in M. yunnanensis) and in pubescence characters. In foliage and floral characters it resembles M. kansuensis, but has more strongly lobed leaves and a rounder fruit than that species (Gu et al. 2003). These small Chinese species are more pleasant than beautiful in flower, but may produce good autumn colours. Malus honanensis is in cultivation in specialist collections, and seed is available through the wholesale trade.