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Chinese quince. A rare form of 'Japanese flowering quince', which is in fact native to China, Bhutan and Burma. Forms a deciduous shrub with an open habit, sparsely branched and more or less thorny. The branches are tortuous, with occaisonal spurs several inches long. In this respect you could argue that Chaenomeles forms an 'untidy' plant, but that would belie its many very fine ornamntal features. Whilst Chaenomeles is traditionally grown against a sunny wall, a perfectly reasonabl approach, they are also equally effective as free standing specimens, especially when given enough space and time to fully mature, at which point both the spring flowering and the late summer fruiting will make a truly show-stopping talking point in the garden.
The leaves of chaenomeles cathayensis are finely toothed, reddish downy beneath and mid green. Flowers which form on wood at least one year old occur in charming clusters and are white flushed with pink. The fact the flowers form on older wood means that pruning should be both careful and sparse. By all means cut out some undesired wood after flowering each year, but if you chop the whole plant back hard after flowering you will get very few flowers the following year but masses the year after. Equally ornamental and indeed arguably the crowing glory of this fine and all too rare plant are the edible fruits which are very large indeed, possibly up to 150mm in length, and glorious to cook with!. Chaenomeles cathayensis is fully hardy and tolerant of sun or shade. Final height will be in the region of 2-4m.