Malus Roberts Crab

  • Flower colour: Pink - dark
  • Leaf colour: Bronze
  • Fruit colour: Purple

Roberts Crab is an unusual crab-apple, grown both for its attractive ornamental qualities, and for culinary uses.

The abundant spring blossom is dark pink, and the leaves have a bronze tint.

Ripening in late summer, the crab-apples have an unusual dark purple colour. They are also very large - the size of small apples.

The main attraction in the kitchen is that the purple fruits have a rich red flesh, making Roberts Crab an excellent variety for crab-apple jams and jellies.

The red flesh also contains high levels of anthocynanin compounds, which may have anti-oxidant qualities.

The juice is a dark red claret colour, which is darker than that of other red-fleshed crab-apples. The juice flavour is sharp and crab-like, and can be used in cider blends.

Roberts Crab is also known as Roberts Red. Although now grown primarily as a crab-apple, it seems to have been originally raised as a cider apple.

This variety is also sometimes marketed as Dr Campbell, in honour of Dr Ian Campbell, a scientist at the famous Long Ashton Research Station near Bristol, who was involved in important developments in virus-free rootstocks for apple trees and crab-apples.

Roberts Crab trees for sale

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

How to grow

This variety is not likely to be as good for pollinating mainstream apple varieties as white-blossomed crab-apple varieties.

Roberts Crab is very precocious, and is likely to blossom and fruit the first season after planting. It grows with an attractive upright spreading form and is reasonably vigorous

Roberts Crab characteristics


  • Attractive features: Attractive flowers Attractive fruit
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Vigour: Average vigour
  • Self-fertility: Self-fertile
  • Gardening skill: Suitable for beginners


  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Flowering month: April
  • Flower colour: Pink - dark
  • Flower form: Single flower (5-8 petals)
  • Leaf colour: Bronze
  • Leaf colour - autumn: Bronze / Purple
  • Fruit colour: Purple
  • Fruit size: Very large
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous


  • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening

Similar varieties

  • See also Harry Baker
    Harry Baker
    Malus Harry Baker is a popular crab-apple with deep pink flowers and dark red fruits which are very good for crab-apple jelly.
  • See also Royalty
    Malus pumila
    Malus Royalty has bright purple-red blossom, dark green-bronze leaves, and dark red fruitlets.

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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