When someone says "quince," do you think of a bush grown in the yard with pretty spring flowers, or does a jelly come to mind first? Or does it depend on how hungry you are?
The plant that produces the fruit used to make the quince jellies, jams, etc. that you can buy at the supermarket is Cydonia oblonga. Vanessa Richins Myers, About.com Guide to Trees and Shrubs, identifies it as a member of the Rose family, which also include apples and pears (hawthorn trees too, incidentally). Vanessa also notes that it's related to those other quinces: the landscaping plants in the Chaenomeles genus.
In referring to the "Chaenomeles genus" we're talking about flowering quince bushes. The older types do produce an edible fruit from which jams, etc. can be made, but you'd need an awful lot of them to make it worth your trouble. That's why it's no big deal that the new cultivars I discuss in my article on flowering quince bushes dispense with fruiting altogether -- it has been bred out of them. But for most of us, growing flowering quince bushes has always been about their good looks, right?
Well, that depends on whom you ask. As I relate in my article, not everyone likes the way flowering quince bushes look, including famous horticulturist Michael Dirr. How about you? Do you like the way they look?
If not, we can always go back to talking about Cydonia oblonga. Did you know that "Marmalade was originally made of quince fruit"? I found that out in reading a quince marmalade recipe from Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, About.com Guide to Home Cooking.
Read article: Flowering Quince Bushes
Sign up for my free weekly newsletter: Landscaping Newsletter
Worth a Thousand Words: Landscaping Pictures
Photo ©2012 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)