Deciduous tree in the Rosaceae family, probably originating from to South-west Asia, and cultivated in the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Dull green, oval to elliptical leaves, 5-11 cm long, covered with very fine hairs. Foliage turns yellow in autumn. Flowers in spring with 5 cm wide blossoms, white and usually flushed with pink, emerging from pink flower buds in spring. Round or pear-shaped, fragrant, 9-13 cm long fruits, ripening to golden yellow in autumn. Quinces are used, among other things, to make jellies, jams, puddings, wine and cider. A number of improved cultivars have been developed, including 'Van Deman', 'Smyrna', 'Vrajna' and 'Champion', differing in growth habit, leaf size, fruit production, fruit shape, and hardiness.
Cydonia oblonga has a long history in the Middle East, and was also revered by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The 'Apple of Discord' Paris gave to Aphrodite when he was asked by Zeus to select the most beautiful woman, was a quince. He chose Aphrodite because she offered him in return the love of the most beautiful woman on earth, Helen of Sparta.
Prefers full sun and light soils. Tolerates most soil types as long as they are well-draining. Copes with less than all-day sun, but doesn't fruit well in a shady position. Requires a cold period (like apple trees, but shorter) to encourage flowering, and a warm summer for the fruits to ripen. Protect from strong winds. Self-fertile, so you only need one tree for fruit production. Prune in winter to open up the center of the tree, and train to a central leader with secondary leaders fanning out. Without pruning and training, Cydonia oblonga tends to form an irregular tree with somewhat crooked branches from quite low to the ground. Frost hardy (zone 6).
An interesting specimen tree with gorgeous spring blossoms, and unusual, bright (but not glossy) yellow fruits weighing down the branches in autumn. For a lovely colour combination later in the growing season, plant Cydonia oblonga near shrubs with deep purple flowers in late summer and autumn, such as Salvia 'Black Knight', or blue flowers, such as Dichroa versicolor.