Apple Tree Leaf Identification

By John Lindell; Updated April 24, 2017

The apple tree is a member of the rose family of plants. The leaves of apple trees share certain attributes, such as falling off as winter comes, growing in an alternate pattern on the twig and having toothed edges.


Apple trees do not have large leaves. Those of the commonly cultivated apple trees average between 1.5 to 3 inches long, while few crabapple species have leaves that are greater than 4 inches long.


Most apple leaves are either elliptical or oval. Their bases can be rounded, wedge shaped, or in the case of the Biltmore crabapple, straight.


The colors of an apple leaf are typically darker on the upper surface of the leaf than they are on the underside. Different shades of green, such as the yellow-green of the sweet crabapple, are the norm.


The stems of apple tree leaves are often hairy. According to the “Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees,” leaves on the southern crabapple are hairy when the tree is young, but lose this attribute as the tree matures.

Fun Fact

An ornamental crabapple species, the Sargent crabapple, differs from most apple trees because some varieties of this tree have leaves with three lobes.

About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.