Clusters of Warm Spring Blooms, Delicious Pome Fruit
The quince tree (Cydonia oblonga) produces a lovely yellow pome fruit somewhat resembling a pear in appearance and taste. The quince fruit adds its own soft beauty and gently sweet flavor to the garden. Usually this fruit is cooked to soften it and bring out the sweetness (good quince recipes include many jams and jellies), but it is also delicious right off the tree in areas where it gets a long and warm enough summer to properly ripen. The flowering quince is actually a separate Genus (Chaenomeles) from East Asia. These smaller, more ornamental shrubs go by the same common name because they produce their own smaller version of quince fruit. Ornamental cultivars have been selected to bear little to no fruit, however, so that instead they can spend all their energy on their gorgeous early spring bloom show, which infuses the garden with a rare burst of color for that time, usually a rich red or a bright pink, arising in lush clusters before the branches have even leafed out!