Sunday, February 5, 2012

Joseph Prestele: American Crab Apple

Joseph Prestele (1796 - 1867) cut the engraving and colored this plate after a drawing by Isaac Sprague. It was intended for Asa Gray's Forest Trees of North America, but the project as planned never came to fruition (in a manner of speaking!). In 1891, some 40 years after activity on the book, the secretary of the Smithsonian, which had underwritten the work, disseminated sets of the prints.

The subject of this print is Malus coronaria, the American Crab Apple.

A few facts about Joseph Prestele

A few facts about Malus coronaria
1. It is native to the central East Coast of the United States.
2. The tree grows to 15 - 25 feet in height.
3. Bumblebees, diggerbees, honeybees and other long-tongued bees cross-pollinate the blossoms.
4. One of the common names of the tree is Sweet Crab Apple. This is probably a reference to scent of the blossoms, because the fruit is very sour to the point of inedibility.

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