Monday, February 23, 2015

SHSU Botanical Study- Flowering Quince Trees (Main Campus & Woodland Home)

I was working on my research in late December, when I spotted these beauties, which by the way bees seem to love.  Unfortunately, these blooms fall off by spring time.  So, if you are fortunate enough and happen to be walking either on the museum grounds at the Houston's Woodland home site or the campus in front of Austin Hall's entryway you may still be able to catch a fleeting glimpse of these brightly colored blooms of the flowering Quince tree. 

In front of Austin Hall

Close up of branches of trees lining sidewalk at the Woodland home

The Quince is often mistaken for the Camellia.  This variety is possibly the Orange Storm, which is an old-fashioned deciduous shrub that American farmers of the 1800's often grew on their homesteads.  These plants would be used sometimes for the little bit of fruit they produced, but mainly this tree's blooms are beautiful and can brighten any dreary day.  The blooms resemble and are often mistaken for the Camellia.

In speaking to Peter, the Museum Groundskeeper he told me of documentation about these plants.  I was able to get copies Mrs. W. A. Leigh's recollection of the grounds from her childhood and when the Houston's lived.  This is her words concerning these plants,  "On the west side of the walk, leading to garden, a short distance from the back porch there grew in a row extending almost to the garden fence, five quince trees."

So it appears these group of 5 Quince trees are still living in the same spot where Margaret Houston planted them sometime in the 1800's.  Also, one can reasonably speculate that the Quince tree growing at Austin Hall, another historically significant building in Texas history, is most likely from this same root stock.

I was able to find a internet site which had interesting ways Quince was used in England.  To read follow this link Historical Reference of the Quince Tree.

Until Next Time.

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