It's an apple! It's a pear! It's a...quince?

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Quince is the name given to the fruit of the Cydonia oblonga tree as well as the common name of the tree itself. It’s a small tree that can grow to 15-20 feet tall and wide. Quince is a hardy, low-maintenance planting that’s great for beginners because it thrives with little effort and is relatively hard to kill. Quince grows best with full sun and moderate water, and it produces autumn fruits that make a compelling case for planting a quince or two in your garden today.

About Quince

Quince is a member of the rose family, and According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, “White or blush pink flowers bloom in midspring; these are followed in autumn by fragrant, yellow, round to pear-shaped or oblong fruit traditionally used in the South for jelly and preserves. Fruit reaches 34 inches long and remains as hard as a golf ball even after ripening.” The fruit of the quince is hard and has bright yellow or gold flesh. When the fruits appear in fall, they resemble apples or pears, and their profile falls somewhere in between the two. Quince fruits are edible and used in a variety of cuisines. This quince species is sometimes mistaken for flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa), a relative with beautiful blooms.

How To Grow Quince

The New Southern Living Garden Book advises, “Quince is easy to grow in a sunny spot with slightly acid, well-drained soil; once established, it is incredibly tenacious and nearly impossible to kill, deliberately or otherwise.” Also, “some selections need a pollinizer; planting at least two different ones ensures cross-pollination and larger crops.”

Quince Selections

‘Aromatnaya,’ ‘Pineapple,’ and ‘Crimea’ produce fruit with yellow flesh and pineapple-like flavor that is delicious when eaten fresh off the tree. ‘Cooke's Jumbo’ and ‘Smyrna’ have white flesh and good flavor, while fruits from ‘Portugal’ ripen before the rest and have pink flesh that changes to red when cooked.

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Have you ever eaten a quince or seen a Cydonia oblonga tree? What edible fruits are growing in your garden?

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