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CHAENOMELES japonica

Image of Chaenomeles japonica

James H. Schutte

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

CHAENOMELES japonica

Plant Common Name

Japanese Flowering Quince, Maule's Flowering Quince

General Description

Admired for its beautiful spring blooms, Japanese flowering quince is a spiny, compact to medium-sized, deciduous shrub native to Japan. Profuse clusters of small, salmon or orange, bowl-shaped flowers cover the plant very early in spring, before and after its smooth green leaves emerge. These are followed by gnarled, yellowish, apple-shaped fruits that are fully ripe by fall and may be used to make preserves or jelly. Of all the flowering quince species, this is considered the hardiest.

The smooth green leaves of Japanese flowering quince are oval and lined with coarse, crenate teeth. The branches are armed with short thorns that are strong and can cause painful scratches. Pretty rosaceous blooms of salmon pink or orange are produced in spring, and fragrant, yellowish, apple-shaped fruits ripen in the fall but offer no visual appeal.

The tough and adaptable flowering quince accepts a wide range of growing conditions but grows best in full sun and well-drained loam. Periods of winter cold are needed for good flowering and fruit set. Spring buds are often damaged by cold in its northernmost zones. This informal landscape shrub combines well with other early-bloomers, such as forsythias and early bulbs, and its cut branches can be forced into bloom in late winter. Many species are available that vary in size, habit and flower color.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Width

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Orange, Salmon, Orange Red

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Red, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Hedges, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No