Identifying a tree in the landscape isn’t always straight forward, but knowing what you are searching for will help make an accurate judgement. Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) is a deciduous, ornamental tree with edible but bitter fruit. It rises in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. Mature flowering quince grow 6 to 10 feet tall with spread of 6 to 10 feet in a multi-stem growth habit.
Search for spines or thorns on the branches of flowering quince.
Check the leaf color by season. In spring, flowering quince has reddish or bronze colored leaves which mature to a shiny green in summer. The leaves stay glossy green during autumn and then drop in late autumn and early winter.
Start looking for a slightly serrated edge on the leaves and also an alternate growth habit across the branches. The leaves have an elliptical shape 1 1/2 around 3 1/2 inches long and up to 1 inch across.
Identify flowering quince blossoms during the blooming period in spring. The flowers bloom before new leaves appear and are usually red, though some cultivated varieties have white, salmon or pink blooms. Start looking for five-petal blossoms 1 1/2 to 2 inches across in clusters of two to four.
Loof for quince fruits maturing in late autumn. The fruit is round and 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. The yellow or green color is often speckled and may turn slightly red as autumn progresses.