Flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosa
The flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) of East Asia is related to the Quince (Cydonia oblonga) of southwest Asia. However, it does not produce a fruit similiar to an apple or pear as the Cydonia oblonga does, but is in the family Rosaceae or rose. Although native to China, this plant is also cultivated in Japan and is known as Japanese quince (Tiegeng Haitang). The quince's branches are thorny but bear beautiful, showy blossoms; these flowers have short stalks, hence the name tiegeng, or sessile flowered. In San Francisco, the quince blooms around the New Year, making it a good substitute for the peach and plum trees of China and Hong Kong. Fruits and Flowers for the Chinese New Year, (PDF) It has also been used in New Year celebrations because of its symbolisms of good health, prosperity (huakai fugui) and happiness along with peach blossoms, white narcissus and chrysanthemums. (Chinese New Year Activity). The flowering quince is known for its beautiful flowers that bloom on the leafless stems of the plant in the late winter through spring. It is a quite a spectacular plant in any form - and when used as bonsai material, is even more spectacular, because of its toughness and versatility. The Bonsai Site, (PDF) Bred in the East for many centuries, there are some remarkable cultivars that are relatively unknown to the West. Among these are cultivars that are short in stature and some that are even quite prostrate, and others that are deep clear reds, pure white, clear pink, or contorted in growth habit. Flowering Quince for Bonsai, (PDF) The quince is also mentioned in the Book of songs, the oldest known collection of Chinese poetry. One of the stories follows a traditional courting ritual: the exchange of gifts. A maiden gives three flowers to her beau, quince, peach, and plum, and in turn, he gives her three different semi-precious stones with which she can ornament her sash. Book of Songs, (PDF)
Book of Songs (PDF) from the Handbook for the Study of Eastern Literatures, by Dr. Robert Churchill, Creighton University
Chinese New Year Activity. Compare Infobase Limited. Copyright 2007-2008
Flowering Quince for Bonsai (PDF) by Brent Walston.
Fruits and Flowers for the Chinese New Year (PDF) by Terese Tse Bartholomew, Quince
The Bonsai Site, Copyright © 1997-2002 The Bonsai Site. All Rights Reserved.
Selected works of art featuring Quince:
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Chiang Su, Chinese, active 18th century. Quince Blossoms, 18th century. Opaque watercolor on silk mounted to paper support. Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Louis E. Hendricks 1982.2.75
Kao Yu (Chih-Yin) (San-I), Chinese, active 17th century. Magnolia and quince blossoms , No.1 from the Volume on Round Fans. From: The Treatise on Calligraphy and Painting of the Ten Bamboo Studio, 17th century. Color woodcut. Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts 1963.30.19191
Kawarazaki Shodo. Quince, Japanese, 1955.