Squaw apple (Peraphyllum ramosissimum) belongs to a monotypic genus, meaning that this native shrub is the only species in the genus Peraphyllum. Growing up to ten feet in height and intricately banched, squaw apple is found in pine and juniper woodlands in Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.
A member of the Rose Family, squaw apple has deciduous, alternate, lanceolate leaves which are mostly located at the end of branchlets. The leaves have small petioles (stalks) and can be blunt or acute at the tip. The underside of the leaves are lighter than the upper surface.
Squaw apple flowers have five roundish petals, five reflexed sepals, from fifteen to twenty free stamens and an inferior ovary. The flowers vary in color from white to pale pink.
The fruits are small pomes (a fruit with a core). When ripe, the fruits are sweetish with a bitter aftertaste. They can be made into jams, jellies or prepared like spiced apples.
Squaw apple was named by Thomas Nuttall in 1840 from a specimen collected in the Black Mountains of Oregon. The genus name derives from the Greek (“pera” meaning excessive and “phullon” meaning leaf) and refers to the crowded clusters of leaves. The species name means “many branches”. Another common name for this shrub is wild crab.
This squaw apple grows along the road to Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery in Shasta County CA. All the pictures were taken on April 29th, except for the fruits which were photographed on May 27th.