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Cydonia oblonga - Mill.                
                 
Common Name Quince
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The seed is poisonous[200]. Like many of the species in the family Rosaceae it contains hydrogen cyanide (this is the substance that gives almonds their characteristic flavour). In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Habitats Damp rich soils in hedgerows and thickets[50, 254].
Range Europe - Mediterranean. An occasional garden escape in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Summary

Cydonia oblonga Quince


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Cydonia oblonga Quince
   
Physical Characteristics
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Cydonia oblonga is a deciduous Tree growing to 7.5 m (24ft) by 7 m (23ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
C. vulgaris. Pyrus cydonia.
Habitats
Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit.
Edible Uses: Drink;  Gum;  Pectin;  Pectin.

Fruit - raw or cooked[4]. When grown in warm temperate or tropical climates, the fruit can become soft and juicy and is suitable for eating raw[4]. In cooler climates such as Britain, however, it remains hard and astringent and needs to be cooked before being eaten[4]. It is used in jellies, preserves etc[9, 183]. The cooked fruit adds a delicious flavour to cooked apples[3, 37, 46, 61]. Strongly aromatic with a firm but rather gritty flesh[200]. The fruit is rich in pectin[200]. The fruit is about 10m long and 9cm wide, tapering to the stalk[200]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. A drink can be made by adding the dried crushed seed to water, simmering for 5 minutes and sweetening to taste[183]. Flowers[183]. No further details are given.
Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Fruit (Dry weight)
  • 355 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 2.7g; Fat: 1.2g; Carbohydrate: 94g; Fibre: 14g; Ash: 2.5g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 55mg; Phosphorus: 95mg; Iron: 4.3mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 25mg; Potassium: 1216mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 130mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.15mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.18mg; Niacin: 1.8mg; B6: 0mg; C: 95mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figures given here are the median of a range given in the report.
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiinflammatory;  Antivinous;  Astringent;  Cardiac;  Carminative;  Demulcent;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Hypotensive;  
Laxative;  Pectoral;  Refrigerant;  Restorative;  Stimulant;  Tonic.

The stem bark is astringent, it is used in the treatment of ulcers[218]. The seed is a mild but reliable laxative, astringent and anti-inflammatory[9]. When soaked in water, the seed swells up to form a mucilaginous mass. This has a soothing and demulcent action when taken internally[4] and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, especially in children[240]. This mucilage is also applied externally to minor burns etc[9]. The fruit is antivinous, astringent, cardiac, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, peptic, refrigerant, restorative, stimulant and tonic[4, 9, 46, 218]. The unripe fruit is very astringent, a syrup made from it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and is particularly safe for children[4, 254]. The fruit, and its juice, can be used as a mouthwash or gargle to treat mouth ulcers, gum problems and sore throats[254]. The leaves contain tannin and pectin[240]. Tannin can be used as an astringent whilst pectin has a beneficial effect on the circulatory system and helps to reduce blood pressure[K].
Other Uses
Gum;  Pectin;  Pectin;  Rootstock;  Size.

A mucilage obtained from the seed coat is used as a gum arabic substitute to add gloss to material[61, 74]. The seed contains 20% mucilage and 15% fatty oils[74]. The fruit is rich in pectin[200]. Pectin is said to protect the body against radiation[201]. The leaves contain 11% tannin[240].
Cultivation details
Succeeds in most soils but prefers a light moist fertile soil and a sunny position[3, 37, 200]. Dislikes very dry or waterlogged soils[202]. Succeeds in semi-shade but does not fruit so well in such a position[202]. Plants also tolerate quite deep shade[219], though they will often not fruit at all in such a position[K]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c[202], though the fruit seldom ripens in the north of Britain unless it is grown against a sunny wall[4]. The quince has been cultivated for over two thousand years for its edible fruit and its seed, though it is not a widely grown crop[4, 46, 61, 132]. It is also much used as a dwarfing rootstock for pears and some other fruits[200]. There are some named varieties[200]. Plants require warm summers in order to fully ripen their fruit[200]. The var. 'Maliformis' ripens well in cooler summers[200].
Propagation
Seed - probably best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[K], it can also be sown in February[78]. It requires stratification[98], pre-chill the seed for 18 weeks if it is fresh, whilst old seed will require 2 weeks of warm stratification first and then 18 weeks cold treatment[164]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of mature wood, November in a cold frame[3, 37]. Layering in spring. Takes 1 year[78]. Suckers, removed in spring[200].
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Expert comment
 
      
Author
Mill.
Botanical References
1150200
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Adriana Jalba, plant biologist Sun Dec 10 2006
I have a comment concerning the content of cyanide in the seeds. Like all the memebers of the Subfamily Prunoideae from the Rosaceae family, the seeds have a high content of cyanide, which is not at all dangerous because is chemical bounded to a sugar molecule, which is a very very stable chemical bound. Not even the low pH from the human stomach can not release the cyanide. In conclusion, is not dangerous.
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future. Sun Dec 17 2006
Trawling the web, there are conflicting reports on the toxicity of this and other plants in the Rose family. Whilst some people claim that the cyanide is not absorbed by the body, but passes straight through, there are plenty of other reports of people being poisoned by eating the seeds of various members of this family. I myself remember a case a few years ago in Britain where a person dies after eating a whole cup of ground up apple seeds. Personally, I am happy to eat a few seeds, since small quantities of the cyanide found in these plants is beneficial to health, especially in the case of respiratory problems. However, I would not risk eating larger quantities without more scientific proof of their safety.
Elizabeth H.
Renjith R Thu Apr 26 2007

International Medicinal Plan Growers Consortium

Elizabeth H.
Alicia Aviles Fri Mar 14 2008
quiero saber si conocen trabajos de identificacion varietal por métodos moleculares en este género en particular con técnicas de pcr Yo comence a diferenciar variedades de Cydonia de coleccion INTA en Argentina provincia de Catamarca pero no conclui mi trabajo con técnica de RAPDs y obtencion de patrones moleculares
Elizabeth H.
Lynn Davis Sat Sep 20 2008
I have discovered a quince bush in my "new" front yard. It has little quinces on it. Are these fruits just miniature versions of the large variety. Are they just as edible? They look identical, and their odor is somewhat citrus-y. L. Davis, Topeka, KS
Elizabeth H.
david n Sun Sep 21 2008
From what I can gather (from books) ripe quinces are at least the size of a large apple when ripe. If it's still green and not yellow it's not ripe. I suppose unfavourable growing conditions like little water might produce undersized ripe fruit, but have no reports of this.
Elizabeth H.
John S Sun Oct 11 2009
Lynn Davis-you probably have Japanese flowering quince, chaenomeles Japonica. You can cut them up and rest them in water. They make "lemonade" John s PDX OR
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