I've lived in my house many years and have always enjoyed this bush/tree plant in the front that looks a lot like an apple tree (blossoms, leaves). It has clumps of little green berries (I'm sure not edible) but also every so often produces a couple of apples. what the heck? I've (carefully) eaten one or two of the apples and they seem just like regular old apples. But why are there clumps of green berries (multiple, on little stalks, like cherries grow, only much smaller than cherries). I was just pruning it today and noticed there are a couple of apples on it. But the little green berry things are confusing me. Is this thing grafted? I live in the Pacific Northwest. Any idea what this shrub is?

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  • 2
    Pictures are lacking so we can identify the plants. Jul 3, 2016 at 5:33
  • Are you sure there isn't something else growing into the plant that produces the apples which is producijng its own berries? Photos please...
    – Bamboo
    Jul 3, 2016 at 10:37
  • 1
    Almost certainly two plants intergrown.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 3, 2016 at 16:43
  • 1
    Or somebody got playful with grafting a diminutive Pacific Crabapple and a standard apple together. By any chance are the small fruits growing off a sucker? nativeplantspnw.com/pacific-crabapple-malus-fusca Jul 3, 2016 at 19:25
  • berries may be poison ivy Jul 3, 2016 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


I think Fiasco Labs has the right idea, asking about suckers. The tree appears to be growing like a bush. So, if it's growing on a rootstock (which most apples are), then some of those lower branches (suckers, some people call them) are probably from the rootstock rather than the apple tree it was sold as. Crab apples and such can be used as rootstocks. The branches growing higher from the original trunk (or what is left of it) should be the ones producing regular apples, if this is the case.

I'm guessing someone coppiced the tree and this encouraged the rootstock to produce branches, as well as the portion above the rootstock.

By the look of the bark, I wouldn't be surprised if you got some mistletoe growing on there later on. So, if you get a surprising third fruit from the tree, that might explain why. In fact, it's possible those small fruits are some kind of rare, green mistletoe, but I'd rule out other things first.

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