Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles) is any of several fruiting shrubs native to mountain woodlands of China, Japan and Korea, with spiny branches and delicate red, orange, white or pink flowers. They are fully frost hardy and adapt to a wide range of garden conditions. The tough, springy branches are often thorny on vigorous shoots while the leaves are simple and finely toothed. Flowers appear in stalkless clusters on the previous year’s wood, followed in summer usually by yellow-green fruits with waxy, strongly perfumed skins — although this does depend on species. These deciduous spring bloomers grow to about 8 feet in height and girth, and its spines make it useful as a barrier plant under windows and as a hedge plant. To encourage vigorous, bushy growth, some of the older branches should be cut back hard each year and new growth pruned in late spring. Flowering quince may develop fungal diseases such as canker in hot weather, while pests include scale insects and aphids.

Flowering quince branches make wonderful floral arrangements if cut before the flowers are fully expanded, while the green fruits have a high pectin content and may be used for jelly. The flowering quinces perform best in a sunny (but not too hot) spot in well-drained but not too rich soil and a dry atmosphere; in Davis, some light shade and even moisture can help reduce plant stress. It can be easily propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings or by layering. To propagate by layering, simply bend a shoot down to an area of light, humusy soil, removing leaves and sideshoots from the area that contact the soil. Make a shallow, two-inch long cut in the stem, dust with rooting hormone, then hold it against the ground with a bent piece of wire. Cover the "wound" with soil and water well. Once the stem has rooted it can be cut free of the mother plant.

For a listing of other plants found growing in Davis, visit our Town Flora or check out our Fruit Trees to see what else you can eat off the streets.