2016

 
 

Chinese Quince, or Pseudocydonia sinensis, is the only species in the genus Pseudocydonia, and is a deciduous or semi-evergreen tree in the Rosaceae family. It is native to China and a close relation of the Common quince, Cydonia oblonga, and the East Asian Flowering quince,  Chaenomeles.

There is one word that comes immediately to mind regarding a Chinese Quince, and that word is charm. Everything about this rare and underutilized tree has charm. Its size is diminutive, as it only grows to about 20 feet in height with a spread of ten feet - perfect for today's garden. It is fine textured with small leaves growing two to four inches in length, prettily serrated in pink, shiny, dark-green above, pale beneath.

The flowers are about 2 inches across with 5 light pink petals. They don't appear all at once in a brief but spectacular spring show. Instead, they appear gradually, in a protracted show all spring.

In late summer the egg-shaped fruits have grown to five to seven inches. They are large and a pale chartreuse and ripen in autumn. These fruits can be made into jellies or candied and are amazing as potpourri. Just bring them inside after the first frost and their spicy sweetness will perfume your home.

With the onset of autumn the delicate leaves turn a pretty yellow, red and orange and as the last leaves drop from the tree the handsome bark is on full display. The trunk of a Chinese Quince is quite attractive, peeling off in patches like a sycamore, revealing subtle tones of gray, green, orange and yellow.

There is no season that this endearing and unusual tree does not offer something of interest. It grows best in full sun but can take slight shade. It is quite cold hardy but also thrives in heat and humidity. It grows throughout most of North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. They are hard to come by however and, not surprisingly, are most likely to be found in connoisseur nurseries.

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Chinese quince

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