A genus of three species, natives of China and Japan, closely allied to Cydonia, in which genus they were once included. Cydonia, as now understood, comprises only the common quince – Cydonia oblonga Mill. – and, in the interpretation of some botanists, the rare tree described in previous editions under the name Cydonia sinensis Thouin. The latter has also been considered to belong to Chaenomeles, but it has certain characters that make it out of place in either genus and in this revision, following Schneider, it is placed in a genus of its own as Pseudocydonia sinensis (Thouin) Schneid.
Chaenomeles differs from Cydonia in its toothed leaves; in its calyx, which is glabrous outside and deciduous; and in the styles being united at the base. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, simple, and have large stipules. The flowers are in leafless clusters or solitary at the ends of leafy shoots. The fruit is apple-like, five-celled, and has many seeds in each cell. The fruits are fragrant and edible when cooked, but are excessively harsh and astringent in the raw state; like those of the common quince, they are used for making jellies and conserves. All like a sunny position and, while not particular as to soil, prefer a good well-drained loam. Propagation of the garden varieties is by cuttings of half-ripened wood taken in June or July, or by mound-layering; of the species, by seed.
Wall specimens are the better for regular pruning once a framework of branches has been established. Treatment consists in spurring back the branchlets after flowering; and, in late summer, the shortening of outward pointing growths and the removal of unwanted ones. Strong branches from the base should be trained in and old stems cut out – this can be done at any time.
The most recent study of the genus is by Claude Weber in The Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, Vol. 45, pp. 161-205 and 302-45 (1964), to which we are indebted for much of the information on the newer garden hybrids incorporated in this edition. For a Check List of cultivars by the same author see Arnoldia, Vol. 23, pp. 17-75.