The quince (Cydonia vulgaris) is a tree belonging to the rose family with pinkish-white inflorescences. Its name comes from Cydon, an ancient city of Crete (the city of Chania today). Its cultivation was already well known in Greek and Roman times, as evidenced by the ancient frescoes of Pompeii. The quince tree (there is also a variety called the pear quince whose fruit is more similar to a pear) does not exceed 4-5 metres in height and has a beautiful umbrella-shaped canopy. The tree loses its leaves in winter. In early spring the quince produces white, pink or orange flowers with five petals resembling small roses.
Harvesting takes place in the summer. The fruit has a hard and compact pulp that is inedible raw and it is covered by a fine fuzz similar to that of peaches. The quince is an ancient tree. It is reasonable to assume that most of the “apples” spoken of in old stories, traditions and legends were indeed quinces.