Deciduous large shrubs or small trees, sometimes spiny below. Leaves simple, alternate, serrate, sometimes lobed (not in Victoria), petiolate; stipules present. Inflorescence a corymbose cluster. Flowers bisexual, white, pink or reddish. Receptacle (hypanthium) hemispherical, cup-shaped or urceolate, open at anthesis; sepals 5; petals 5, shortly clawed; stamens 15–many; carpels 3–5, fused, enclosed within and united to receptacle, walls cartilaginous in fruit, ovules 2 or more per carpel. Fruit a globose, fleshy pome, lacking stone-cells, green, yellowish or flushed with red; seeds ovoid, compressed, brown.
About 35 species, from northern temperate regions; 1 naturalised in Australia.
Many species, hybrids and cultivars are grown for their edible fruits (apples) or as ornamentals (crabapples). The domestic apple is of hybrid origin, derived from a number of European and Asian species. Some taxonomists include the genus Pyrus (pears) within Malus.