Dwarf Quince - (Chaenomeles japonica)

Easily cultivated in any reasonably good soil. Prefers a deep moist well-drained loam. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates full shade but requires a sunny position for best fruit production. Becomes chlorotic on very alkaline soils. Tolerates atmospheric pollution. A very ornamental plant, it is hardy to about -25c and fruits freely in Britain. Plants are occasionally cultivated for their edible fruit. This species is closely allied to C. speciosa. A good bee plant, flowering early in the year and providing pollen and nectar. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Fruit - raw or cooked. Very harsh and acid raw but fragrant when cooked, imparting a strong pleasant flavor to jams and jellies, it is especially good cooked with apples in apple pies. The fruit is apple-shaped and about 4cm in diameter. The rich aromatic juice, as tart as a lemon, is squeezed and used for culinary purposes.

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sheltered position outdoors or in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in February in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 6 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. If well grown, these seedling can be large enough to plant out in the summer, but give them some protection in their first winter. Otherwise plant them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Easy. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, November in a cold frame. Layering in late spring or in autumn. This is a sure and easy method, though it takes 12 months. Division of suckers in late winter. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Woods in low mountains, C. and S. Japan.


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