2017

 
 

Here is another beautiful tree that is hardly ever planted and yet is perfect in so many situations. The Quince tree, or Cydonia oblonga, is a small tree, up to about 20 feet, that is not only a superb ornamental but also produces delicious fruit. This Eurasian native, related to apples and pears, has showy pale pink flowers, five petalled and two inches across, that appear in spring with the attractive foliage. The flowers alone are enough to recommend this tree but the flowers lead to large, pome fruit, which are bright golden yellow when mature, pear-shaped, and up to 5 inches long. These pomes are deliciously scented and can be used as a pot-pourri in autumn to freshen rooms. But typically they're eaten and they are delicious stewed, baked, made into fruit butter etc - almost anything that can be done with apples can be done with quinces, and they need a similar length of cooking as apples and a single slice added to an apple pie is enough to add a subtle flavor. Quince flesh turns pink when cooked. And after the fruit has been picked and preserved, the versatile Quince tree has one last little surprise and that is its lovely autumn foliage - in brilliant yellow, orange and gold. And best of all, Quince trees are easy to grow trees that  fruit reliably, and are pest and disease resistant. They can grow from southeast Canada through most of the the US and are also quite hardy throughout the UK and New Zealand and parts of Australia. As always, a tree this rare is not likely to be found in the large discount nurseries, but more likely found in the select plant nurseries or from mail-order tree nurseries.

The Chinese quince, Pseudocydonia sinensis, is an equally attractive cousin.

Quince

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