Cydonia oblonga

Departments - Green Guide

With its ancient history and tasty fruit, this quince could be a high-value plant.

May 6, 2016

Quince, (C. oblonga) is a small tree that grows to about 15 feet tall, and it’s often used as rootstock for dwarf pears. But it has some beautiful and interesting characteristics that, with the right marketing and POP, could make it a specialty crop with a high price point.

As the species matures, it takes on an unusual gnarled form. Foliage is deep green, turning yellow in fall. Fruits are very fragrant — said to have a sweet candy-like scent — and are commonly used to make jelly. Flowers are a lovely blush-pink and attract pollinators.

All varieties are self-pollinating.

C. oblonga can be found in ancient history. Cydonia, is named after the town of Cydon in Crete. Some references believe that the ancient biblical name for quince translates to apple, and could be the fruit tree described in Genesis and the Song of Solomon. In ancient Greece, the quince was a ritual offering at weddings, for it had come from the Levant with Aphrodite and remained sacred to her. Plutarch reported that a Greek bride would nibble a quince to perfume her kiss before entering the bridal chamber, “in order that the first greeting may not be disagreeable nor unpleasant,” according to VanDusen Botanical Garden.

Why grow Cydonia oblonga?

  • Delicious fruit, of course.
  • Lovely flowers.
  • Interesting habit once mature.
  • Fascinating history/lore.