ABOUT QUINCE

Rosaceae

Relatives: Apple, Pear, Medlar

The Quinces are Pome and as such, are members of the Rosaceae family. Apples, Pears and Quince may all have a common origin, the Middle and Near East. Historically, the fruits were cultivated and highly favored by the Greeks and Romans. It was the "Golden Apple" that Paris awarded to Aphrodite as a symbol of love, marriage and fertility, and was commonly used in marriage ceremonies by both cultures. The original Greek name for Quince was "Cydonian Apple", and the name Quince was probably morphed from the name of 'Cydonia', which was the name of the port where the fruits were exported. Today Quince is still favored for its aromatic, musky and long-lasting fruits, which make excellent jelly, chutneys and preserves.

DESCRIPTION

A somewhat slow growing ornamental tree, with tangled branches that are often spiny. Young stems are often covered with a pale grey fuzz. Trees are quite long lived, surviving for more than 50 years.
LEAVES: Deciduous, though often lasting until late autumn before falling. New leaves are reddish-brown and mature to a very dark green They turn a very rich yellow color before leaf fall.
FLOWERS: Abundant, pink-white in late spring, opening after the leaves emerge. Self fertile and are been and insect pollinated.
FRUIT: Formed on the current season's wood, so pay attention when pruning. Many seeds - way more than either apples or pears - often up to 20 in each section, compared to apple which has only two. Not really grown to be eaten fresh, rather to be cooked and added to desserts or made into preserves, jams, jelly, etc. Ripen in mid to late autumn, and some years on into early winter.

CULTIVATION

LOCATION: An easy to grow, most adaptable tree. Will never complain.
TEMPERATURE: Quince are very adaptable to many climates, often able to survive temperatures as low - 20 degrees C (about -4 F)
CHILLING HOURS: Expect Quince to do well with only 100 - 400 hours of winter chill.
PRUNING: Often grown as espaliers in Europe, either in fans or sometimes as a single trunk. Many grown with multiple trunks. Because fruits are borne on previous summer stems, take care in removing young stems as you don't want to cut off potential fruits.
PESTS AND DISEASES: Quince are quite tough, with leaf spot and potential Fire Blight showing up in wet and humid springs. Occasionally rust on the fruit is observed.

CULTIVARS

Pine Apple: Has large, smooth, golden yellow skin. A firm, white flesh with a slight pineapple taste. Excellent for eating and jellies. Ripens around September and on into October.

Smyrna: Large, elongated in shape with a lemony yellow skin. Flesh is surprisingly tender for a quince, very aromatic with an excellent flavor. Ripens around September and on into October.