What is this tree/bush and why are it’s petals missing?

Asked May 4, 2020, 8:59 PM EDT

This tree/bush was on the property when we purchased it, and we know nothing about it. I have two questions on it. 1) What is it? 2) Why are the blooms not really blooming? Last year it didn’t bloom that I noticed, and this year it is “blooming”? But they look like this (photos attached). I know the tree-bush needs some help. I was hoping to thin it out this winter when it’s dormant. Anyway, why would the blooms not really have petals? I’m sure that it didn’t bloom already and loose the petals, I’ve been doing a decent job keeping an eye. I haven’t noticed any bugs on it. What can I do to help it? I am not particularly interested in it fruiting, I just would love for it to bloom correctly. The bees are not even visiting the ones that look remotely like blooms either.

Jefferson County Oregon

5 Responses

Hi, I am not able to positively identify this plant as I need some different photos to view, but it looks most like an apple. Are the flowers all coming from one spur or are they aligned up and down a branch. Are you able to send photos of a bud and stem? Is the plant coming up for the ground multi-stem or was a main trunk removed? The flowers appear to have cold/frost injury damage, not uncommon for fruit trees in Central Oregon. This can be happening in the bud stage before the blossoms open or after they open. If the tissue is damaged the flower will not form correctly. The pollinators may not be visiting if there is not any pollen (got damaged). You can try to cover the plant with frost cloth next year to protect the blossoms. Thanks

I don’t know any history of the plant, so removal of the trunk, I do not know. Here are what you requested for additional photos. I am happy to take as many photos as we need to identify! Too bad I can only include 3!


Well I did find today some native bees and some day moths on a few of the blooms! Thank goodness!

It appears to have multiple flower stems coming from one spur.

I’ve included a photo of the trunk(s) from the ground.

Yes, I think it could be an apple tree that maybe lost its main trunk at some point. You can try to protect it next year with frost cloth, but if it is a less hardy variety it may always sustain some sort of plant damage.

I’m getting a lot of guesses for cherry or plum as well from various people. What are the identifiers for it to be an apple vs something else?

The size of the flower, flower arrangement, flower placement on new or old wood. Usually cherry and plum is primarily blossoms before any full leafing out whereas with apples you have leaves and then flowers together. If you scroll down to the flowering section in this link it explains the differences well:
http://acmg.ucanr.edu/Growing_Your_Own_Food/Pruning_Fruit_Trees/

Thanks