Crab-Tree, or Pyrus malus, L. is an indigenous plant, growing in woods and hedges ; it flourishes better on declivities and in shady places, than in open, exposed situations, or on boggy soils. Its blossoms are white, and appear in the month of May.
This is the parent-stock, from which the numerous varieties of the apple are obtained, and on which the better sorts of them are grafted ; because its roots are neither killed by frost, nor eaten by field-mice. Grass, and even corn, will grow beneath it. The wood of the crab-tree is tolerably hard, turns clean on the lathe: and, when made into cogs for wheels, acquires a polish, which renders it very durable. The acid juice of the fruit is commonly termed verjuice, and is much employed in recent sprains, and in other cases, as an astringent or repellent. This fruit is eaten by horses, cows, sheep, goats, and particularly by hogs, which are extremely fond of it.
Crab-trees abound especially in our forests, and their fruit furnishes abundance of food for deer, in the latter part of autumn, when grass begins to fail; and in winter they brouze on its branches, which are cut down for that purpose. As this species quickly attains its growth, it deserves to form a part of every plantation ; and we have only to regret, that it is not more generally cultivated, as it will in 3 short time amply compensate the trouble and expence bestowed on setting it.
In dyeing, the bark of the crab-tree has been employed for extract-ing a yellow, and especially a citron colour: DambouRney relates,that the dry shavings of this wood imparted a fine chesnut-brown to wool prepared by a solution of bismuth.