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Roberts Crab

Roberts Crab

Roberts Crab is an unusual crab-apple.  The fruits are very large (the size of small apples) and have a dark purple skin.  The flesh is a deep red color.

The flavor for eating fresh is very poor, but it is thought this variety was originally grown for cider - the juice is a claret-red color. It is also useful in the kitchen as the red-flesh adds color to jams and jellies.

Like most red-fleshed crab-apples it contains anthocyanin compounds which are thought to have anti-oxidant properties.

This variety was discovered in the UK, where it is marketed as Dr Campbell, named after a plant scientist who worked at the Long Ashton Research Station.

Also known as

  • Dr Campbell's crab
  • Roberts Red

Roberts Crab crab-apple identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

  • Roberts Crab
  • Roberts Crab

USDA identification images for Roberts Crab

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

    Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

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    United States




    • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
    • Originates from: Somerset, United Kingdom
    • Introduced: 1970s


    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Period of origin: 1950 - 1999
    • Fruit colour: Purple
    • Flower colour: Pink - dark
    • Leaf colour: Bronze
    • Flowering month: April
    • Annual cycle: Deciduous
    • Flower form: Single flower (5-8 petals)
    • Flesh colour: Pink / Red
    • Leaf colour - autumn: Bronze / Purple
    • Fruit shape: Round
    • Fruit size: Very large


    • Picking season: Mid
    • Keeping (of fruit): 2-3 weeks
    • Flavour quality: Average
    • Juice style: Sharper
    • Cropping: Heavy
    • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
    • Food uses: Culinary
    • Food uses: Juice
    • Food uses: Hard cider
    • Picking month: September
    • Picking period: early September
    • Food uses (ornamental plants): Jam / Jelly
    • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


    • Gardening skill: Beginner
    • Flowering group: 2
    • Pollinating others: Poor
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Vigour: Average vigour
    • Precocity: Precocious
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Attractive features: Attractive flowers
    • Attractive features: Attractive fruit
    • Self-fertility: Self-fertile
    • Height after 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft


    • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
    • Climate suitability: Mild damp climates
    • Cold-hardiness: Cold-hardy

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Roberts Crab crab-apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    No orchards have registered as growing this variety. If you grow this and want to register please go to our Orchard Registration form.

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