Sargent Crabapple

Malus sargentii 'Select A' FIREBIRD Rosaceae

Growth habit



Long-lived polycarpic perennial

Source of plant

Johnson's Nursery


Firebird® Crabapple originated from open-pollinated seed collected in 1980 by Michael Yanny at Johnson’s Nursery, Inc., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. A seedling crop was grown and transplanted to the Jackson, WI farm in 1984. From this block of plants, trees were evaluated primarily for fruiting qualities, habit, disease resistance and hardiness. Firebird® Crabapple showed superior fruiting qualities early on in the selection process. It has small, red crabapples slightly less than ½” in diameter. Unlike most Malus sargentii selections which have small, red fruits which quickly soften in the autumn after a few hard frosts and are taken by birds, Firebird® Crabapple fruit remain hard and colorful late into the winter. It’s ornamental fruit quality and persistence is better or equal to that of Malus ‘Donald Wyman’ and approaching but not equal to Malus ‘Red Jewel’, in Wisconsin. Firebird® Crabapple is a small-scale plant similar to its parent Malus sargentii, though a more compact version. It grows more upright than the species when young eventually spreading out to 8’ wide by 5’ tall after about 18 years. Firebird® Crabapple shows much more of a tendency towards annual flowering and fruiting than its parent. Red flower buds open to sweet smelling, one-inch diameter, snow-white flowers at the time when Viburnum carlesii is in full bloom. On young, vigorous shoots, Firebird® Crabapple has distinct, tri-lobed leaves 2 3/8” long by 2” wide with a prominent central lobe. Older, more adult foliage, most prevalent on slower growing shoots, is mostly elliptic, oval being about 2 ½” long by 1 ¼” wide. Firebird® Crabapple has excellent resistance to apple scab disease.

USDA Hardiness Zone


Special characteristics

fruiting characteristics, disease resistance, growth habit