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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.

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
    • Introduced: 1970s


    • Picking season: Mid
    • Cropping: Heavy
    • Keeping (of fruit): 2-3 weeks
    • Food uses: Culinary
    • Food uses: Juice
    • Food uses: Hard cider
    • Juice style: Sharper


    • Attractive features: Attractive flowers
    • Attractive features: Attractive fruit
    • Self-fertility: Self-fertile
    • Flowering group: 2
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Height after 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft


    • Cold-hardiness: Cold-hardy


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

    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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