Quince tree identification

The Quince Cydonia oblonga is a small fruit tree native to a region of south-west Asia that includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, southwestern Russia, and Turkmenistan. It had already been introduced to Britain by 1200. 

Quince tree identification – small fruit tree, large leaves, white, pink-tinged flowers in spring and pear-shaped yellow fruit in autumn. Its fruit is similar to that of an Apple or Pear, but it can’t be eaten raw in Britain. It is too hard and has an astringent and sour taste. Slow cooking with honey produces edible slices and quince can also be use to produce jam, jelly and marmalade. From its introduction to Britain from Portugal in the 16th century marmalade was usually made from Quince until citrus fruits gradually became more poplar.  In warmer climates such as the Middle East it can be eaten directly from the tree where it was known as a Golden Apple.  It should not be confused with the Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa), a small thorny shrub with red flowers, found in many gardens.

Quince tree

Tree in mid April, just coming into flower.

Quince tree leaf

Leaves can be up to 11cm long.

Quince tree flower

Flowers emerge with the leaves in mid April. They are white with a pink tinge.

Quince tree flower

Close-up of a flower, showing the yellow anthers ready to release pollen in mid April.

Quince flower

Flower at the end of April

Quince fruit

The fruit is yellow and pear-shaped

Quince fruit

Fruit in September

Quince tree bark

The bark is smooth and grey with rufous patches

Buds are dark brown on hairy shoots. Photo taken in late February