Spring in Chicago: Crabapple Trees

May 5th, 2013 by Collin Canright | Filed under Chicago.

This week really is the first time spring is in the air, and some part of it stinks. The crabapple trees* are in full bloom. They look absolutely lovely, thickly covered in a cloud of tiny delicate flowers in cotton-ball sized blooms, especially along and in the medians of city neighborhood streets.

Here’s what they look like on Irving Park Road, just south of Ashland Ave. Lovely, yes. But do you know what these blooms smell like? They are not sweet. They are not a perfume you’d want to wear. They a kind of musty, but not the sweet musty of an old book, more like the musty of mold, a mushy smell.

I would prefer Redbud or Dogwood, both native to the region. I imagine they are not as hearty. Crabapples are hard and sour, and I’ll bet nothing will kill the trees. So there they are, all along with streets, a visual feast and better than the exhaust from the busses. Then again. . .

* I’m fan of plants, but I’m no botanist. If these trees are something other than crab apples, please let me know, and I’ll put crabapple jelly on my toast as an apology.

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