The Plenty Red Flowers of Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) - © harum.koh
The Plenty Red Flowers of Chaenomeles speciosa - © harum.koh

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

Another shrub that speaks Chinese: Flowering Quince or Chinese Quince – deciduous, thorned as long as it is needed, but also excessively enjoyable in flowers and fruits.

 Flowers that are often only the prelude of spring and fruits, which, when not eaten, cure.

Oh, and how they attract bees! Certainly not the fruits but the flowers! What scratches and shakes and other unspeakable quirks!

… With 3 exclamation points in a series.

With 3 exclamation points in the series, we think that even the most demanding of the romantic readers will be satisfied with such lyrical introduction to the presentation of Flowering Quince. We can only see how we will satisfy the rest.

The editorial team of ‘Kalliergeia’ is being retired at an emergency meeting.

Flowering Quince Origin

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

Flowering Quince- Flowers, Thorns, and Part of Stems - © Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,
Chaenomeles speciosa - Flowers, Thorns, and Part of Stems - © Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,
Flowering Quince Developed Shrub - © Richard Webb,
Chaenomeles speciosa Developed Shrub - © Richard Webb,
The Red Flowers of Flowering Quince with the Yellow Stamens
The Red Flowers of Chaenomeles speciosa with the Yellow Stamens

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) - General Notes

Scientific name

Chaenomeles speciosa (Sweet) Nakai

Common name

Flowering Quince, Japanese Quince, Chinese Quince, Mugua


General characteristics

Type of foliage: Deciduous

Form: Upright shrub, with multiple stems and round-ellipsoid canopy

Texture: Medium

Height: 1.5-3 m (5-10 ft)

Diameter: 3-5 m (10-16 ft)

Growth rate: Moderate

Flowering period: Early spring

Fruiting period: Summer-Autumn


Shape and colours

Bark: Dark brown

Leaves shape: Ovate

Foliage colour: Green

Foliage colour in autumn: Reddish-brown

Flowers shape: Cup-like with five petals on cyme inflorescence

Flowers colour: Red

Fruit: Pome



Soil type: Draining, sand, clay, loam, acidic to nutreal

Exposure: Sun, half-shade

Soil pH: 4.5-7

Watering: Medium

Hardiness: −26 °C (-15 °F – USDA Hardiness zone 5b)



Specimen, hedges, mixed hedges, shrub beds, windbreakes, bonsai specimen 

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

Flowering Quince Shrub Planted in Rock Garden
Chaenomeles speciosa Shrub Planted in Rock Garden

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) - General Notes

  1. Flowering Quince is upright growth, medium to large-sized thorny deciduous bush, blooming abundantly before the leaves appear. Its flowering period is 50 to 60 days, and if planted in regions with mild winter blooms from mid-January.
  2. It can be planted in a variety of soil types, but it thrives in the medium texture and very good drainage clay soils that retain the necessary soil moisture. It is advisable, however, to avoid planting it in calcareous and alkaline soils, as light to severe chlorosis occurs.
  3. For watering, Flowering Quince young plants should be properly watered, and the frequency of irrigation must be such that the surface of the soil is not allowed to dry completely. However, since the plants are fully established, they are very resistant to drought.
  4. The Flowering Quince grows both in sunny and half-shade exposure, but in the latter case it is typically deficient in flower production.
  5. Flowers appear on the stems of the previous year. This fact, combined with the fact that Flowering Quince benefits from systematic pruning, leads to the recommendation to remove 1/3 of the top of the stems immediately after the flowering process. Such a tactic results in a more compact appearance of the plant and more flowering, but if it is desired to use its edible fruits, it should be noted that in this area reduced production will be observed.

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

The Seeds of Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) - Credit: Tracey Slotta, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
The Seeds of Chaenomeles speciosa - Credit: Tracey Slotta, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
The Yellowish-Green Fruit of Flowering Quince - © chiwi
The Yellow-Green Fruit of Chaenomeles speciosa - © chiwi

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) - Additional Informations

  1. The name of the genus Chaenomeles is a NeoLatin composite word which is produced by the ancients Hellenic χαίνω, which means ‘very open mouth’, and ‘μήλον’, which means ‘apple’. The name of species speciosa is Latin and means ‘tart’ but also ‘impressive’, characterizing both the plenty of attractive flowers and the taste of its fruits.
  2. Flowering Quince produces edible yellowish-green fruits that resemble small quinces. Their taste is sour and slightly bitter, but the preparation of preserves, jellies or jam makes them particularly delicious.
  3. Fruits of the plant have medicinal properties and ethnobotany value. In traditional Chinese medicine, they are appreciated for their positive effect on the liver, stomach and the muscular system, as well as for the proper functioning of the stomach, while they are used to treat dysentery, enteritis, ‘bery-bery’, scurvy, neuralgia, migraine and depression as well as relieve rheumatism.
  4. Current phytochemical and pharmacological studies have highlighted the hepato-protective effect of the components contained in the Flowering Quince fruits as well as their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, immunomodulatory and antiparkinsonian properties. But more about the therapeutic use of Flowering Quince in one – always promising and never realized – future special tribute.
  5. Some of the varieties of Flowering Quince which have interest are:
  • Chaenomeles speciosa `Cameo ‘
  • Chaenomeles speciosa `Nivalis’
  • Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Texas Scarlet’
  • Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Rubra’
  • Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Contorta’
  1. The Mayonnaise has little to do with Flowering Quince. ‘The Mayonnaise’ by Lena Platonos has however: ‘/ … shake your legs little-Chinese / To keep and taste the Mayonnaise / … ‘  etc. In the song, sings itself with Antonis Karageorgiou, in the orchestra conducting Manos Hatzidakis.


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