Malus hupehensis

Tea Crabapple




  • native to China
  • zone 4

Habit and Form

  • a small deciduous tree
  • 20' to 25' tall, or perhaps a bit larger
  • vase-shaped habit
  • branches somewhat stiff, often with lots of short spur branches
  • branching is somewhat sparse (not a negative attribute)
  • overall presents a picturesque, somewhat open form

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • deciduous leaves
  • leaves ovate to oval
  • leaves are 2" to 4" long and 1 to 1.5" wide
  • leaf margins finely toothed
  • leaf bases are rounded to wedge-shaped on flowering shoots
  • dark, bright green color with glabrous upper surface
  • new growth emerges reddish or bronze

Autumn Foliage

  • foliage turns a mix of yellow and green


  • blooms in April to early May
  • deep pink in bud, opening blush pink and fading to white
  • fragrant, 5-petaled blossoms
  • individual flowers are 1 to 1.5" wide
  • flowers held in clusters
  • flowers are borne even along larger branches on spur wood
  • can be extremely showy
  • borne in alternate years, although off year is still showy


  • fruits held in clusters
  • green-yellow with a red blush on one side
  • 0.4" diameter crabapples (pome fruit)


  • shiny, gray-brown color
  • scaley
  • not of particular ornamental importance


  • prefers full sun
  • very tolerant of a range of soils
  • prefers moist, organic, slightly acid soils
  • easy to cultivate

Landscape Use

  • patio tree
  • small groupings
  • specimen
  • useful for showy bloom
  • useful for high quality summer foliage
  • attract birds and wildlife to fruit
  • considered one of the best crabapples by many horticulturists


  • relatively resistant to most crabapple disease and insect problems
  • occasionally affected by fireblight
  • aphids can be found, but they are not a serious problem

ID Features

  • vase-shaped habit is unique
  • sparsely-branched, spreading, scaffold branches
  • lots of spur wood along branches
  • shiny, dark green leaves with fine serrations on margin
  • new growth emerges reddish
  • flower buds pink, opening to white
  • flowers and fruit held in clusters


  • a triploid that comes true from seed
  • cuttings
  • tissue culture


  • None of importance

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

The digital materials (images and text) available from the UConn Plant Database are protected by copyright. Public use via the Internet for non-profit and educational purposes is permitted. Use of the materials for profit is prohibited.

Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.