Please can someone help me find out what this is

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  • I think it could be an unripe apple, probably a russet variety. See what they look like during apple season, usually sometime in September.
    – GdD
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 20:10
  • It's growing in my garden here in the uk. The rest of the plant is covered in other plants as well so a full picture will be impossible
    – Dane
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 18:25

3 Answers 3


This is a Chaenomeles speciosa, commonly known as flowering or Chinese quince, sometimes also as Japanese quince (but not to be confused with the smaller shrub C. japonica, also known as Maule's quince).

It is edible, but very sour (lots of vitamin C!), very hard and often slightly bitter. Culinary uses are similar to regular quinces (Cydonia oblonga), but due to the high pectin content they are especially suited alone or mixed with low-pectin fruit for jams and jellies.

The plant itself is - at least in the western world - typically planted for the showy flowers as ornamental hedge (C. japonica is smaller and often planted as solitaire), not primarily for fruit. In fact, many gardeners don't realize that chaenomeles are edible.

The fruit in your picture are far from ripe, they need at least another two months and will turn yellow and fragrant with dark kernels. They remain hard and if picked before the first frost and can be stored for months. Harvesting after the first frost gives you slightly softer fruit with shorter shelf life, but even better aroma as some of the bitter components are destroyed.

  • 2
    Confirmed by fruitiers.net/fiche.php?NumFiche=6636
    – user34961
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 8:50
  • 2
    @Stephie Flowing quince makes sense as my grandfather was not one to usually miss-identify though he did sometimes use less common names for things. I tried finding matching pictures in the green stage under flowing quince thinking that might be the issue but failed, but as soon as I threw in the Latin us gave, bingo, correct pictures. Nice research. Ripe pictures do not match my memory because I knew ripe as a golden color and most show what I would call a bright yellow instead with the russets hidden.
    – dlb
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 14:43

Looks like a quince to me.

Very astringent. Basically inedible raw but used in jellies with a ton of sugar. I would call it more candied that jelly myself, at least any I have ever had. In truth, in US I have seen it grown far more as an edible than a culinary item, but have always understood it is more popular some other parts of the world. Russian ladies I worked with were especially fond of them.

I believe there are some other culinary uses, but would think most involve pickling or sugar type curing to break the astringency. I would regularly add a few too my cider pressings though when I had too many apples that were too sweet. A small amount added to overly sweet cider registered, at least to me, as tart and mellowed the cider nicely.

ETA: Sorry, all pictures I am finding of quince look more like deformed pears, less list apple, but the varieties I had and that I grew up with looked like what you or picturing. A very dense apple look with speckles. But the pictures draw into question that ID, so may want to go to gardening for and ID.

  • 1
    Doesn't look like any quince I've ever seen. Wrong shape for one thing, they look a bit like a pear with a short neck, and have bumpy parts on the bottom. The skin is wrong too, they don't come in speckles
    – GdD
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 20:06
  • 1
    @GdD Yeah, ever pic I can find is of the kinda misshapen pear. This is definitely what I knew of as a quince from my grandfather and I had them on my farm, always called them quinces, and always assumed just a different variety that reminded me in shape of an Asian Pear, but not in taste or texture. Grampa may well have miss-identified though and I propagated that ID.
    – dlb
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 20:25
  • @GdD correct. Regular quinces are Cydonia, these are Chaenomeles, see my answer below. But I had to do a bit of research as I'm more familiar with the related C. japonica. The speckles and the growth pattern of the plant behind (in the last picture) are a good clue for an id as C. speciosa.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 7:18

The seed shape is very characteristic of quince though as said before this is chaenomeles speciosa which is used more for decoration, pretty flowers. Decent fruit though looks like you may have picked early, I think the seeds will get darker as it ripens, the fruit turns yellowish. Usually Fall. The fruit ought to twist off easily.
But...they can be stored for a long time and will ripen slowly off the plant (with less flavor). When you cook them (boil with water and sugar) they will turn pink. My favorite is quince-cranberry chutney for Thanksgiving.

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