Wickson Crab was developed by Albert Etter, an apple enthusiast best-known for his work on pink-fleshed and red-fleshed apples. Wickson was the result of crossing two other crab apple varieties. Confusingly Etter refers to them as Spitzenberg crab and Newtown crab in his patent papers, but it is not thought they are related to the mainstream apples of the same names but were crabs developed by Etter himself. In this respect Etter pre-dated the modern trend for using crab-apples in breeding programmes.
Like most crab-apples Wickson is very small, and is also a hardy and problem-free tree. However that is where the resemblance to other crab-apples ends. Wickson is unusually sweet, but at the same time has a strong acid component. The result is an apple which has a very strong flavor, making it an excellent component for cider blends. (This flavor of course tends to encourage the view that Spiztzenburg and Newtown Pippin might be involved somewhere in the parentage, as these apples both have pronounced flavors).
Etter named his apple after his friend Edward J. Wickson, a leading Californian pomologist who was one of the few experts who took his work seriously at the time.