Malus crescimannoi (apple)
Malus crescimannoi (apple) flowers
Malus crescimannoi Raimondo, sp. nov.
Not enough information is available to do a conservation assessment. However, it has been suggested that this species is near threatened.
Found in deciduous Quercus and Fagus woods from 1,000–1,600 metres above sea level.
Contains the toxin hydrogen cyanide in its seeds and possibly in the leaves, but not in their fruit. When consumed in excess hydrogen cyanide can cause respiratory failure and even death.
About this species
Malus crescimannoi is an inedible wild relative of the cultivated apple, Malus pumila. It is endemic to north-eastern Sicily and belongs to the Rosaceae family, which also houses roses and other edible fruit species such as pears, plums and raspberries.
Selection over thousands of years has produced an enormous diversity of apple cultivars varying in shape, colour, sweetness, crispness and storability. Wild relatives of apple, such as Malus crescimannoi, may contain useful genes that can be used in breeding programs to add commercial qualities to cultivated varieties, as well as making them more resilient to diseases and stresses such as drought and temperature change.
The 'Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change' project led by the Millennium Seed Bank and the Global Crop Diversity Trust is collecting the wild relatives of 29 of the most globally important crops, including apple, and making them available to breeders for the selection of new varieties which are more resilient to the effects of climate change.