The Quince is of low growth, much branched, and generally crooked and distorted. The leaves are roundish, or ovate, entire, above dusky green, underneath whitish, on short petioles. The flowers are large, white, or pale red, and appear in May and June; the fruit, a pome, varying in shape in the different varieties, globular, oblong, or ovate; it has a peculiar and rather disagreeable smell, and austere taste. The fruit takes its name from being a native of the ancient town of Cydon, in the Island of Crete; some suppose it to be a corruption of Malus cotonea, by which the Latins designated the fruit. It is used as a marmalade for flavouring apple pies, and makes an excellent sweetmeat; and it has the advantage over many other fruits for keeping, if properly managed.
Of the several sorts, the following are in greatest esteem: 1. The oblong, or Pear Quince, with ovate leaves, and an oblong fruit lengthened at the base. 2. The Apple Quince, with ovate leaves, and a rounder fruit. 3. The Portugal Quince, the fruit of which is more juicy and less harsh than the preceding, and therefore the most valuable. It is rather a shy bearer, but is highly esteemed, as the pulp has the property of assuming a fine purple tint in the course of being prepared as a marmalade. 4. The mild or eatable Quince, being less austere and astringent than the others. 5. The Orange Quince, a very handsome fruit of peculiar rich fla vour. 6. The Musk or Pine Apple Quince, very large and beautiful.
The Quince produces the finest fruit when planted in a soft, moist soil, and rather shady, or at least sheltered situa tion. It is generally propagated by layers, and also by cuttings, and approved sorts may be perpetuated by grafting. In propagating for stocks, nothing more is necessary than to remove the lower shoots from the layer, so as to preserve a clear stem as high as the graft; but for fruit-bearing trees, it is necessary to train the stem to a rod, till it has attained four or five feet in height, and can support itself upright.
When planted in an orchard, the trees may be placed ten or twelve feet apart. The time of planting, the mode of bearing, and all the other particulars of culture, are the same as for the Apple and Pear. The chief pruning they require, is to keep them free from suckers, and cut out decayed wood.