In floral structure, this species is similar to species in the genus Docynia, and some authors have placed it in that genus. However, in Malus, there are two ovules per locule, not many, as in Docynia. Consequently, it should be
retained in the genus Malus[
The taxonomy of the genus Malus is very confused - it has been revised on several occasions, with some authors placing species within the genus Pyrus. Recent morphologic work has suggested that Malus be retained as a separate genus based on fully adnate carpels and deeply inferior ovaries, with molecular evidence providing support. However, cultivation, hybridization, and introgression have led to hundreds of species being named within Malus and there is no clear agreement as to the number of accepted distinct species, or indeed the appropriate name for many of them. The genus requires a comprehensive worldwide revision[
Docynia doumeri (Bois) C.K.Schneid.
Eriolobus doumeri (Bois) C.K.Schneid.
Malus asiatica argutiserrata Hu & F.H.Chen
Malus formosana Kawak. & Koidz.
Malus laosensis (Cardot) A.Chev.
Malus melliana (Hand.-Mazz.) Rehder
Pyrus doumeri Bois
Pyrus formosana Kawak. & Koidz. ex Hayata
Pyrus laosensis Cardot
Pyrus melliana Hand.-Mazz.
Malus doumeri is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 15 metres tall[
]. The tree is evergreen[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine, and is also sometimes cultivated for its fruit in mountainous areas[
]. It is used as a rootstock for the cultivated apple (Malus domestica), especially in subtropical climates.
No information is available regarding direct threats to this species. However, there are several known threats to the forests of China which include illegal logging and legal deforestation due to increasing population pressures and urbanization; air and water pollution are also having a detrimental effect on China's forests. It is unknown whether these threats are having a direct effect on Malus doumeri populations. The plant is classified as 'Data Deficient' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Although no specific information has been seen, the seed and other parts of the plant (but not the fruit) are likely to contain cyanogenic glycosides. When injested, these compounds break down in the digestive tract to release cyanide. Used in small quantities in both traditional and conventional medicine, this exceedingly poisonous compound has been shown to stimulate respiration, improve digestion, and promote a sense of well-being[
]. It is also claimed by some to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer - though this claim has been largely refuted.
In larger concentrations, however, cyanide can cause gasping, weakness, excitement, pupil dilation, spasms, convulsions, coma and respiratory failure leading to death[
The levels of toxin can be detected by the level of bitterness:- sweet almonds, for example, contain only very low levels of it and are safe to eat in quantity, whilst bitter almonds (which are used as a flavouring in foods such as marzipan) contain much higher levels and should only be eaten in very small quantities. Great caution should be employed if the taste is moderately to very bitter[
E. Asia - southern China, northern Vietnam, Laos
Forests; at elevations from 1,000 - 2,000 metres[
|Other Uses Rating
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most fertile soils, preferring a moisture retentive well-drained loamy soil[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a sunny position but succeeds in partial shade though it fruits less well in such a situation[
The fruit is a good wildlife food source, especially for birds[
Cross-compatibility amongst the different species of Malus is common. Hybridization can occur naturally in botanical gardens and in the wild, or artificially through breeding[
Polyploid forms and asexual seed production (apomixis) occur in some species[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. A fine flavour but somewhat astringent[
]. The fruits are also used to make a wine and syrup[
]. The yellowish-red, globose fruit is 25 - 55mm in diameter[
The fruit possesses anodyne, hypotensive and stomachic properties. It is used in the treatment of various minor digestive problems, including dyspepsia, colic, flatulence, diarrhoea and colic consequent upon post-partum haematometra[
Bathing and washing with a decoction of the fruit are effective as a treatment against impetigo and lacquer allergic dermatitis (caused by Toxicodendron species[
The fruit, collected at the end of the year, is halved and dried in the sun[
The fruit contains tannin, sugars, and tartaric and citric acids[
Seedlings are used as rootstocks for cultivated apples grown in subtropical conditions[
We do not have a specific description for the wood of this species - the following is a general description for the wood of this genus:-
The heartwood is reddish-grey; the 12 - 30 rings of sapwood are a light reddish. When steamed, the wood becomes reddish brown to dark red-brown. The wood is hard, but has a tendency to warp. It is very difficult to splitd and is difficult to work, but is easily stained and polished. The timber converts cleanly but is moderately hard to saw. A clean finish is produced normally, but a reduction of the cutting angle to 20° is an advantage to planing. The wood is generally of too small a size for commercial exploitation but, where larger sizes are attained the wood has been used for making a wide range of items, including furniture, mallet heads, umbrella handles, cog wheels, pianos, tools etc, and also for turnery[
The wood of Malus species generally makes a good fuel[
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 1°c 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, late autumn in a frame[