Malus x zumi Golden Hornet

  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Growth habit: Upright-spreading
  • Fruit colour: Yellow

Golden Hornet is a traditional and popular crab-apple, which features a profusion of pink-white blossom in spring. In autumn it produces a mass of small yellow fruit which will stay on the tree until late in the year providing a useful colour feature in the garden.

The leaves also turn an attractive yellow colour in autumn.

The fruits are useful in the kitchen, for crab-apple jelly and a good source of pectin for jam-making. The fruits are quite persistent (they hang on the tree for a period) but if you are intending to use them in the kitchen, be sure to pick them before they start to drop.

Golden Hornet is an excellent pollinator for most apple varieties, particularly late-flowering varieties (flowering groups 4 and 5), as it produces a lot of blossom over a long period. It is a common sight at the end of rows of apple trees in commercial orchards.


Golden Hornet was raised by John Waterer and Sons nursery, and introduced in 1948. It is believed to be a seedling of two other crab-apple species, Malus sieboldii calocarpa and Malus prunifolia coccinea.

In 2013 Golden Hornet lost its RHS AGM award, which was subsequently given to another yellow-fruited crab-apple, Comtesse de Paris, which has a better growth habit. However Golden Hornet remains in most respects an excellent choice if you want a persistent yellow-fruited crab-apple which is good in the kitchen. The fruits are arguably more attractive than those of Comtesse de Paris.

Golden Hornet trees for sale

Height in 10 years
Price inc. VAT
1-year Golden Hornet tree - bare root
2.5m-4m tall after 10 years
2-year Golden Hornet tree - in a 12L pot
2.5m-4m tall after 10 years

What will it look like?

Illustrative example of a pot-grown tree of this variety as supplied. (Approx. girth: 6/8). Trees should reach their mature height after about 10 or more years.

Malus Golden Hornet in a large container

We may also have 1-year bare-root trees of this variety - they are not shown here.

Leaves may not be present during winter, and we may prune some shoots to fit the delivery carton. Size may vary during the season and between batches. The container (if supplied) is only used for transporting the tree, which should then be planted out in the garden or in a much larger patio planter (not all species are suitable for patio planting).

How to grow

Golden Hornet can be somewhat prone to leaf-scab in wetter climates. It is also susceptible to fireblight, although this is not an issue for UK growers.

It can also have a tendency to grow in a straggly fashion, although this is a minor inconvenience and does not detract from its usefulness for crab-apple jelly or as a pollinator of other late-flowering apple trees.

Golden Hornet characteristics


  • Attractive features: Attractive flowers Attractive fruit
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Growth habit: Upright-spreading
  • Growth rate: Average
  • Vigour: Vigorous
  • Sunlight: Prefers full sun
  • Blossom duration: Average (2-3 weeks)
  • Disease resistance: Average
  • Self-fertility: Self-fertile
  • Gardening skill: Average


  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Fruit colour: Yellow
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous


  • Fruit persistence: Persistent
  • Wildlife: RHS perfect for pollinators

Similar varieties

  • See also Comtesse de Paris
    Comtesse de Paris
    Another yellow-fruited crab-apple, with somewhat better scab resistance.

How to choose a crab-apple tree

We have a very wide range of crab-apple trees. Choosing can be difficult! See our article explaining the different characteristics of crab-apple trees which will help you narrow down the selection.

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