Herb: Chinese Apple

Latin name: Malus prunifolia rinkii

Synonyms: Malus asiatica, Malus matsumurae, Malus pumila rinkii, Malus ringo

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Edible parts of Chinese Apple:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Bitter. Not at all bitter, it makes quite pleasant eating. Used fresh or in preserves etc. The fruit is about 3cm in diameter. Young leaves - cooked.

Description of the plant:


8 m
(26 feet)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild state.

Propagation of Chinese Apple:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It usually germinates in late winter. Stored seed requires stratification for 3 months at 1C and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as it is received. It might not germinate for 12 months or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. If given a rich compost they usually grow away quickly and can be large enough to plant out in late summer, though consider giving them some protection from the cold in their first winter. Otherwise, keep them in pots in a cold frame and plant them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of mature wood, November in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild state.

Medicinal use of Chinese Apple:

None known

Known hazards of Malus prunifolia rinkii:

All members of this genus contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide in their seeds and possibly also in their leaves, but not in their fruits. Hydrogen cyanide is the substance that gives almonds their characteristic taste but it should only be consumed in very small quantities. Apple seeds do not normally contain very high quantities of hydrogen cyanide but, even so, should not be consumed in very large quantities. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.