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Common flowering quince

Flowers of common flowering quince, cultivar "Toyo-Nishiki'.

Common flowering quince is a tall, deciduous shrub reaching 6 to 10 feet high. Shiny, dark green leaves appear before the scarlet-red flowers emerge in spring.  Dense tangles of stems have spiny thorns, best used as a hedge, back of the border or in mass. Edible fruit is used to make jam and jellies.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Chaenomeles speciosa

All common names:

Common flowering quince, flowering quince

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Screen

Size Range:

  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Clay soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • early spring,
  • mid spring

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Orange,
  • Pink,
  • Red,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Round,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun to part shade in well drained soils.
Avoid high pH soil.
Rejuvenate to ground every few years to maintain shape.

Disease, pests, and problems

Fire blight, scab, leaf spots
Thorns on stems

Native geographic location and habitat

China and Japan

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Flowers attract early pollinators.

Bark color and texture 


Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, elliptical  1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inch long leaves with serrated margins.
New growth emerges red changing to glossy dark green; no fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Single, 1 1/2 inch diameter flowers in clusters of 2 to 4. Red to scarlet. Some cultivars can be white, yellow and pink and double flowers.
Blooms on old wood.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Apple-like fruit, 2 to 3 inches in diameter, yellow-green, not showy but edible.

Cultivars and their differences 

Nivalis Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa 'Nivalis'): An upright form with white flowers.
Orange Storm Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa 'Orange Storm'): An orange, double-flowering, rounded form reaching 4 to 5 feet high. Thornless and fruitless.
Scarlet Storm Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa 'Scarlet Storm'): A red, double-flowering, thornless and fruitless form.
Toyo-Nishiki Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa 'Toyo-Nishiki'): An unusual form with red, pink, and white flowers in same flower cluster. Upright, rounded reaching 6 to 10 feet high.

Related species

Hybrid Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles x superba):  This is a group of hybrids resulting from a cross of Chaenomeles japonica and C. speciosa.  Cultivars of this hybrid include:

Cameo Hybrid Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles x superba 'Cameo'): A double-flowering, apricot-pink flower reaching 4 feet high and wide. Good disease resistance.
Crimson and Gold Hybrid Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles x superba 'Crimson and Gold'):  Deep red wflowers with obvious yellow anthers in the center.
Jet Trail Hybrid Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles x superba 'Jet Trail'): A white flowering sport of Texas Scarlet, low-growing, 2 to 3 feet high and wide.
Texas Scarlet Hybrid Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles x superba 'Texas Scarlet'): A low-growing, 3 to 4 feet high and wide with few thorns and bright red flowers.


Location of Chaenomeles speciosa (Common flowering quince) at the Arboretum