I’ve been curious about a gangly tree shrub growing in the neighbor’s backyard next to the fence that separates the two properties since I moved in with Susan almost three years ago. Situated between the lowquat tree and a large cactus, each spring there appears at the ends of many of its spindly branches a fuzzy greenish fruit. About a year ago I took one hanging over into our yard and sliced it open but it was decidedly unripe and didn’t help solve the mystery of what the fruit was.

Earlier this week I took another and again cut it in half but other than a faint apple/pear smell the fruit was unripe and hard and, based on the tiny bite I had, bitter but almost entirely devoid of taste.

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So I took the above photo as well as a couple snaps of the tree itself and uploaded them to Flickr and sent an email to Erik of Survive L.A. Blog pointing him to them and calling on his organically inclined assistance. He took a look and had a couple other people look and one of them told him it was a quince, but he didn’t seem so sure because he didn’t think quince fruit had fuzz. So he suggested taking a branch into the expert at a local nursery who could ID it right there or contact noted author, ethnobotanist and survivalist Christopher Nyerges to get his thoughts.

So I wrote Nyerges and he quickly confirmed that it was indeed a quince and that the fruit “is related to apples and pears, and is a common fruit cooked and eaten as is or made into pies.

I’ll be keeping an eye on them babies in hopes that they ripen, but I’ll be making sure to stay away from the seeds, which are reported poisonous in the fruit’s Wikipedia entry.

Thanks Erik and Christopher!