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A tree 30 to 40 ft high, of erect, open, rather pyramidal habit; young branches covered with a greyish down. Leaves broadly ovate, or rounded; 2 to 5 in. long, 11⁄2 to 3 in. wide, pointed, unevenly toothed, the base rounded, covered with loose down above when young, afterwards becoming glabrous, permanently grey-felted beneath, veins in six to ten pairs, parallel; stalk downy, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Flowers 1 to 11⁄4 in. across, white, suffused at first with rose, produced four to six together in umbels, each flower on a woolly stalk 1⁄2 to 5⁄8 in. long; calyx covered with white wool. Fruits globose, 1 in. wide, brownish yellow flushed with purple, erect on a stalk 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, crowned with the persistent calyx-teeth.
Native of Japan, where it is rare in the wild; first discovered at the foot of Fujiyama. It was first introduced to cultivation by Prof. Sargent, who, in 1897, sent plants to Kew, raised from seed he had collected five years previously. It does not flower very copiously, and its fruits have no attraction in colour, but the leaves ‘assume a wonderful autumnal mixture of colours – bronze, crimson, orange, purple and yellow. The fruits are almost non-existent and it is an ideal tree for roadside planting where the fruit would be a menace. No other crab-apple makes such a valuable contribution of leaf colour in the autumn.’ (H. S. J. Crane in Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 86 (1961), p. 162).
M. tschonoskii has attained a height of 45 ft at Westonbirt, Glos., and 38 ft at the Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey (1965-6). In the Knap Hill Nursery there is a specimen about 50 ft high and 30 ft in spread of crown (1971).