The Morton Arboretum was one of the first members of Plant Collections Network, with their Malus collection accredited during 1995, the pilot year of the program.
The Morton Arboretum’s Crabapple Collection was started in 1924. It is currently located primarily on the East Side of the Arboretum, situated around Crabapple Lake, to which the collection lends its name. There is also a significant component to this collection on the Arboretum’s West Side, developed during participation in the National Crabapple Evaluation Program, which evaluated new and disease-resistant varieties. Though the vast majority of taxa represented in the current collection are cultivars, the Arboretum also has a significant collection of native Malus coronaria and Malus ioensis, and future efforts will include further development of the collection with wild origin European and East Asian Taxa.
Interpretation of the Malus collection was improved in 2018 with panels installed communicating the importance of cultivar development and evaluation to promote disease resistance, and a gathering place in the form of a picnic bench resembling a stylized apple fruit.