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A low, spreading, deciduous thorny shrub, usually under 3 ft in height, considerably more in width; branchlets very downy when young. Leaves 1 to 2 in. long, obovate or oval to almost orbicular, toothed, tapering at the base to a short stalk, quite glabrous; stipules large on the young growing shoots, ovate or broadly heart-shaped, 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. wide. Flowers in almost stalkless clusters from the joints of the year-old wood, very abundant, orange-red, scarlet or blood-red, 11⁄2 in. across. Fruit apple-shaped, 11⁄2 in. diameter, yellow stained with red on the sunny side, fragrant.
Native of Japan; introduced about 1869 by Messrs Maule of Bristol. It was at first considered to be a new species and was named Cydonia maulei. Many years passed before it was discovered that it was the species to which Thunberg had given the name Pyrus japonica in his Flora Japonica (1784), and that the plant grown for so long in gardens as “Pyrus japonica” or “Cydonia japonica” was quite another species, for which the correct name is Chaenomeles speciosa (q.v.).
This is one of the most charming of red-flowered dwarf shrubs, flowering from April to June, and when at its best, literally wreathing its branches with blossom. It bears fruits freely, and they are pleasantly coloured and scented in early winter; though harsh and acid when raw, they make an excellent conserve. Besides its dwarfer habit, it differs from its near ally, C. speciosa, in having minutely warted twigs, and more obovate or rounded, more coarsely toothed leaves.