I have lived in this house for many years. I have always had a bush behind the shed that I couldn't identify. I always knew it was green most of the year and that it had thorns but that was about it.

Well a couple of days ago I was looking at it and low and behold there was an green apple or an apple like fruit on it! I was excited but it wasn't like a normal apple. There was no stem, it was directly attached to the branch, and I have never seen an apple with thorns that are an inch or so long.

I'm not sure what it is or if it is native or a non-native ornamental plant. I live in New Albany, Indiana which is in southern Indiana near Louisville, KY. Also on my property here in town I have dogwoods, an ornamental cherry, a holly, some catalpa trees, a white pine, and some miscellaneous other bushes/hedges. It is an old property and I think most of the trees were placed here by a previous owner. My dad and I are very curious as to what it is.

Leaves are dark green and look very similar to an apple's. The fruit is very apple shaped, even has a dimple on the bottom, but like I said no stem. It is a little more round than most apples and about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter.

See photos below, and more on flickr:

Photo by brucevt1218 on flickr www.flickr.com/photos/45055463@N02/ Photo by brucevt1218 on flickr www.flickr.com/photos/45055463@N02/ Photo by brucevt1218 on flickr www.flickr.com/photos/45055463@N02/

  • I think you are right about the type of tree. I believe from what I read that it is a Japanese Quince or a Chaenomeles. I would still like a positive ID. As for flowers, it has had a couple in the past but I can't remember details about them. I have lived here 9 years and this is the first time I saw fruit on it. Here is a link to some photos: flickr.com/photos/45055463@N02/sets/72157631619559065 Thanks, Bruce Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 11:27
  • If it is a flowering quince, the fruit will be really hard and will taste like an apple with no sugar at all -- SOUR! Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 1:19
  • Although the leaves do look more like quince leaves, you might also consider that it could be an Asian pear. Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 8:12

7 Answers 7


I am sure you have a Quince or Thornapple as they are sometimes referred to here in New Hampshire. I know this because we have the same plant. We have cut them down and dug them up and they continue to grow back. They are very invasive with very long and traveling roots. The flowers are beautiful but the fruit I really wouldn't eat.

  • I wouldn't eat them raw but the fruit is not poisonous. The seeds, like the apple, are kinda toxic, only so if eaten in large quantities.
    – stormy
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 20:42

I'm wondering if its a form of quince - Chaenomeles japonica. Has thorny branches, fruit is produced virtually stalkless, branches are quite dark in colour, drops its leaves in winter. Does grow in your USDA zone, although fruit production is sometimes compromised for various reasons to do with climate (fruit split, late cold killing the flowers before pollination). Tolerates shade very well. Fruits are edible, but usually used to make quince jelly, not tasting great raw. Looks like Chaenomeles to me, but to make sure whether its an apple or not, cut the fruit in half, through its equator, so to speak. If the seeds are held in a five part case, its an apple. I reckon its flowering quince though.

  • At this point I'm fairly sure that it is a quince or Chaenomeles of some type but which sub-species I'm not positive. I'm very thankful for all the input from the members here. Have a great day -Bruce Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 11:25

It is definitely FLOWERING QUINCE. Have had 2 for 20+ yrs, one in poor cold soil, one among trees in back yard. Some yrs a beautiful bloom-others puny. In good years there scads of small fruit of no consequence and are attacked by little bright orange sucking critters I've not identified. Their thorns are plentiful AND dangerous. Trimming branches must be handled with good gloves as the thorns are needle sharp and hard to see on new spring growth. They are not a people-friendly shrub but attractive much of the year and provide roosting for many birds. Tho slowly invasive, the more adventurous plants wound up with other plant enthusiasts.

  • Send in a question, HE LEWIS! Do you have any pictures yet? Ask question when you can send a few visual aids!! Quince is a favorite of butterflies and that is a cool thing. They lay their eggs in these fruits so the fruits are being eaten inside to outside. If you see holes, then the larva have probably moved on. They are wonderful as protection or deterrent shrubs, similar to barberry and cholla cactus. Invasive is a subjective thing, as I have sold many of these plants for big bucks. Like forsythia, an early breath of spring and color!
    – stormy
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 20:48

At a guess it sounds like a wild apple tree. There similar to regular apples but the branches have thorns. Also the fruit is known to be of lower quality. Have a read of this.

It could also be a wild crabapple. You can read up on them here.

It sounded like you were describing thorny branches, but if the fruit itself was thorny it's probably an Osage Orange.

  • I think that is a good guess but after looking closer at the Quince, I'm thinking that is a the more likley answer. I did enjoy the read but the discription doesn't match as close. Of course all of these are types close relitives in the same family so it really is hard to tell which is which, but I'm going with the flowering Quince because it is located in a central spot in the back yard of a very old in town property and I'm sure predates the out-building beside it, so I'm guessing the older property owner placed it there. Thanks for your help. -Bruce Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 1:30

I just discovered one in my backyard in North Texas. I cut it open and it has a pit. I think it's a burgundy plum tree.


Native Americans made good use of this Bush the leaves help lower fevers, and ease ministration cramping among other things they called it a medicine bush settlers alway grew them for the same reasons after learning about them from the indians and called it a firebush after its fiery red blooms. I always chew a leaf everytime I pass mine in the yard.

  • Welcome! The name „Firebush“ is quite unclear - please edit your post with the precise name. It’s always a good idea to explain how the reader can recognize a plant and what it can be confused with. The tour and our help center, especially How to Answer will give you more guidance.
    – Stephie
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 11:14

Crab apple. The most primal ancestor to the apple.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.