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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF TEMPERATE FRUIT NUT AND SPECIALTY CROP GENETIC RESOURCES

Location: National Clonal Germplasm Repository (Corvallis, Oregon)

Title: Cydonia oblonga: The Unappreciated Quince

Author
item POSTMAN, JOSEPH

Submitted to: Arnoldia
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: April 20, 2009
Publication Date: July 20, 2009
Citation: Postman, J.D. Cydonia oblonga: The Unappreciated Quince. Arnoldia. 67(1):2-9.

Interpretive Summary: Of all the commonly grown temperate fruit crops, European quince is one of the most unappreciated. In the United States and parts of western Europe, quince is better known as a dwarfing rootstock for pear than for its own fruit. However, quince has a long history of cultivation and many traditional uses in wide-ranging parts of the world. Quince originated in the wild in Caucasus Mountain region between the Caspian and the Black Sea. It was cultivated in the Middle East long before the apple was and may have been the tempting Garden of Eden fruit mentioned in the Bible. Susceptibility to disease and lack of cold hardiness, combined with the fact that the fruit is used cooked rather than fresh have resulted in a decline in production during the past century. This article describes the history, uses, and potential for genetic improvement of the crop. Recent quince plant and seed introductions from other parts of the world may provide natural solutions to some of the problems that have plagued quince in the United States, and this quince diversity is available to nurseries, researchers and farmers from the Agricultural Research Service genebank in Corvallis Oregon.

Technical Abstract: Of all the commonly grown temperate fruit crops, European quince (Cydonia oblonga) is probably the most unappreciated. In the United States and parts of western Europe, quince is better known as a dwarfing rootstock for pear than for its own fruit. However, quince has a long history of cultivation and many traditional uses in wide-ranging parts of the world. Cydonia originated in the wild in Caucasus Mountain region between the Caspian and the Black Sea. It was cultivated in the Middle East long before the apple was and may have been the tempting Garden of Eden fruit mentioned in the Bible. Susceptibility to disease and lack of cold hardiness, combined with the fact that the fruit is used cooked rather than fresh have resulted in a decline in production during the past century. This article describes the history, uses, and potential for genetic improvement of the crop. Recent quince plant and seed introductions from other parts of the world may provide natural solutions to some of the problems that have plagued quince in the United States, and this quince diversity is available to nurseries, researchers and farmers from the Agricultural Research Service genebank in Corvallis Oregon.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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