Reader Submitted “Smell of the Day”

quince 002, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

This is a new one for me but I dig it:

“Dear PoP,

Smell isn’t always the primary sense one appreciates in a city, but it can be marvelous. There is a bush of these fragrant little fruits that you can smell from the path in Meridian Hill park, near the Serenity statue (the poor chipped-up marble lady on the west side of the upper park.) They smell like what you wished candy really smelled like, Juliet, or small flowers from a tenuous habitat. Light, sparkling, grapefruity & clovey. I’m pretty sure these are quince fruits, but still suffering ptsd from a childhood taste of green persimmon, I haven’t the nerve to taste.”

Are these quinces?

11 Comment

  • Weirdly, the fruit on the right looks like a quince, but the fruit on the left looks like a citrus fruit of some kind. But I assume they’re actually the same species and that it’s just a weird angle. If it’s citrus, I think the trifoliate orange (not technically a citrus, but closely related) is the only thing hardy enough to be around here. Otherwise, quince is definitely as possibility. On the other hand, quince fruits are typically quite large, and you describe these as little. Maybe it’s a wild apple variety? Apple trees that grow from seed (instead of grafts) can look totally different from typical apple varieties.

    Post a few more pictures! We need to see what the inside of the fruit looks like, and also what the tree looks like. And also a better sense of the size of these fruits. This is a fun mystery.

  • It can even be guava or a variety of guavas. The inside of a guava is a pink pulp with small seeds or a whitish pulp with the small seeds, it depends on the variety.

  • Maybe Chinese quince, maybe just your garden variety of quince.

  • definitely quince looking.

  • If that’s really godzilla next to them, they are way to big to be quinces.

  • Given the look and the description of the fragrance, I’d go with wizened up quince on the left, and slightly underripe quince on the right. In spring, the bushes have lovely pink blossoms, but the fruit smells much better. The flesh should be whitish with seeds like an apple on the inside if it’s quince. It’s terribly astringent, though, and it isn’t eaten raw. Cooked, though, particularly with apples, it’s amazing…

  • Fairly certain it’s breadfruit, which is so F-ing delicious I can’t stand it.

  • I’m sure someone else has seen this… a tree on the corner of Newton (I think) and 17th or Mt Pleasant (not sure). Just one block up from the north side of the Mt. Pleasant strip. It’s a huge tree, and it drops these giagantic citrus-looking green fruits all around it. Seems somewhat hazardous, given the size and density.

    What is this tree?? Are those softball-sized things edible? I assume not, because they lie around for ages, and no one seems interested in gathering them up.

  • WDC – does it look kind of like a bumpy brain? Sounds like an osage orange.

    And despite a few tropical days every summer, I don’t think breadfruit or guava actually grow around here.

  • The fruit of the hedge apple (or osage orange) isn’t edible although squirrels sometimes eat the seeds.

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