T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Cydonia oblonga (Quince)

Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Rosales
Family:Rosaceae
Subfamily: Maloideae or Spiraeoidea]
Genus:Cydonia
Species:C. oblonga
Binomial name Cydonia oblonga
Common name : Quince

The Quince or Cryonic oblong is the sole member of the genus Cryonic. The native region of the quince is not precisely known, but it is probably wild only in parts of Asia including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkestan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It has been cultivated in Mediterranean regions for millennia and has become naturalised in many parts; the fruit was highly regarded by the Greeks and Romans, and was the ‘golden apple’ that Paris awarded to Aphrodite as a symbol of love, marriage and fertility. It is still an important fruit crop in its native region and in South America (Argentina produces 20,000 tons annually).
It is a small thornless deciduous shrub or small tree growing 5-8 m tall and 4-6 m wide. Young branchlets are covered with pale grayish wool. This tree is related to apples and pears, and like them has a pome (a fleshy fruit), which is bright golden yellow when mature, pear-shaped, 7-12 cm long and 6-9 cm broad. The immature fruit is green with dense grey-white pubescence, most of which rubs off before maturity in late autumn when the fruit changes colour to yellow with hard, strongly-perfumed flesh. 
Cydonia oblonga trunks form a scaly bark that flakes off thin patches, leaving irregular patches of the smooth surface.
Leaves are oval or elliptical and are alternately arranged, simple, 6-11 cm long, by 4-6 cm wide, untoothed, dark green above, pale with a dense felt of grey wool beneath (especially when young). They turn a rich yellow in autumn.
The flowers produced in spring after the leaves and are white or pink, 5 cm across, with five petals.Flowers produced in spring at the end of short twigs are pink or white and solitary (5 cm across). Trees are self-fertile, with a good fruit set in both cool and hot climates; pollination is via bees.
Most varieties of quince are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw unless 'bletted' (softened by frost and subsequent decay). They are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed. The flesh of the fruit turns red after a long cooking time. The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavour. Adding a diced quince to apple sauce will enhance the taste of the applesauce with the chunks of relatively firm, tart quince. Quinces contain high levels of pectin, which ensures that any jelly made with them in will set easily. 
Wine and cider can be made from the fruit.  The seeds are soaked or boiled in water, release the mucilage from the seed coat and make a jelly-like consistency, which has been used for sore throats and eye lotions. The fruits are so fragrant that a single fruit can fill a room with its rich fruity scent; indeed, quinces were once popular as room deodorisers.  
Quince leaves contain 11% tannin and can be used for tanning.



Young fruit


Adult fruit

 

Cydonia oblonga trunks form a scaly bark that flakes off thin patches, leaving irregular patches of the smooth surface.

Phot showing the seperation of the bark from the trunk.


The upper surface of a leaf

Under surface of an adult leaf