The quince ( /ˈkwɪns/), Cydonia oblonga, is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears). It is not to be confused with its relative, the flowering quince (Chaenomeles). It is native to rocky slopes and woodland margins in south west Asia, Turkey and Iran. It is a small, deciduous tree, growing 5–8 m (16–26 ft) tall and 4–6 m (13–20 ft) wide, and bears a pome fruit, which is bright golden yellow when mature, pear-shaped, 7–12 cm (3–5 in) long and 6–9 cm (2–4 in) broad. The fruit is edible when cooked, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities.

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. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, 6–11 cm (2–4 in) long, with an entire margin and densely pubescent with fine white hairs. The flowers, produced in spring after the leaves, are white or pink, 5 cm (2 in) across, with five petals.

Quince is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including brown-tail, Bucculatrix bechsteinella, Bucculatrix pomifoliella, Coleophora cerasivorella, Coleophora malivorella, green pug and winter moth.

Four other species previously included in the genus Cydonia are now treated in separate genera. These are the Chinese quince Pseudocydonia sinensis, a native of China, and the three flowering quinces of eastern Asia in the genus Chaenomeles. Another unrelated fruit, the bael, is sometimes called the "Bengal quince". In the famous children's poem, The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear (1871), "they dined on mince and slices of quince..."

Read more about Quince:  Origins, Cultivation, Cultivars, Production, Uses, Cultural Associations, Toxicology

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Famous quotes containing the word quince:

    Let the palings of her bed
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    For losing of her maidenhood.
    Hilda Doolittle (1886–1961)