Galloway has a well-kept secret: we have special native crab apple trees – hardy, long lived and much-loved scrubby pasture trees! Experts increasingly appreciate and admire the population of native crab apple trees in Galloway. But why are they here, and why does this matter? This will be explored and better understood at an event on 18th January, with attendees welcomed in person or online.
Our crab apple trees are found in rough pasture on hills, along the coast along riverbanks and sometimes in gardens. They bear beautiful pink blossom in spring, in autumn golden globes of fruit, locally known as ‘scroggies’ that sometimes hang on throughout the winter. Galloway, together with a couple of other areas in the UK, has an exceptionally high level of native genetic material in its Crab Apple stock – likely due to the remote nature of our current treestock and the reduced chance of cross pollination with other apple species.
However not all of our crab apple trees are true natives, some have been cross pollinated with domestic apples and ornamental varieties. This puts the survival of the true ‘native’ Crab Apples under threat. The South West Scotland Community Woodlands Trust has been leading a project over recent years to identify and better understand our population of native crab apple trees, celebrating their significance through history to present day. The team have been on a mission to find Galloway’s true natives through DNA testing, use this to grow the next generation of native trees and seek to protect this important natural asset.
This event – delivered in hybrid so attendees are welcomed in person or online – will share an overview of the work done to better understand our native crab apples, giving a number of different reasons why we should be proud of the Galloway crab apple trees! Book your free ticket here: https://fienta.com/galloway-crab-apple-action.
Jools Cox, from the SWSCWT’s Crab Apple Project will be speaking on the night and said:
The Crab Apple Project has been so exciting. We have proved what we always believed, that our beautiful native Scottish malus sylvestris are really special, not just here but in the whole of Northern Europe! So, now we want to make sure that they are enjoyed, protected, propagated, and given the reverence they deserve.’
The event is delivered in partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands, a new initiative seeking to support trees, habitats and the people that depend upon them in Dumfries & Galloway. McNabb Laurie, Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands Officer, said:
“With expert eyes increasingly turning to the Crab Apple Trees of Galloway, it is so important that we take a moment to appreciate why the local native trees are important – and how they can influence lots of contemporary questions around resilience of our food systems and our changing climate.
Never before has a hybrid event actually focussed on a lack of hybridisation…”
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Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands is registered in Scotland as a SCIO, number 052525.