079. Pyrus cydonia. Common quince tree.

Botanical name: 

079. Pyrus cydonia. 079. Pyrus cydonia. C. Synonyma. Cydonium malum. Pharm. Lond. & Edinb.
Malus Cotonea. Gerard. Emac. p. 1452. Raii Hist. p. 1452. J. Bauh. Hist. vol. i. p. 35.
Malus Cotonea vulgaris. Park. Theat. p. 1504.
Mala cotonea majora. Bauh. Pin. p. 434. Flor. Austr. v. iv. t. 342.
Duplex varietas in hortis colitur, scil.
1. Cydonia fructu oblongo lasviori. Tourn. Instit. p. 632.
Mala Cotonea majora. C. Bauh. l. c. depicta ab ill Du Hamel, in Traité des Arb. fruit, ad p. 206.
2. Cydonia fructu breviore et rotundiore. Tourn. l. c.
Mala cotonea minora. C. Bauh. l. c. depicta in Du Hamel Traité des Arb. et Arbustes Tab. 83.
Prostat et alia 3 varietas: Cydonia latifolia lusitanica. Tourn. cujus fructus oblongus succosior et minus acerbus, sed rarioris proventus. Vide Murray App. Med. vol. iii. p. 196.

Class Icosandria. Ord. Pentagynia. Lin. Gen. Plant. 626.
Ess. Gen. Ch. Cal. 5-fidus. Petala 5. Pomum 5-loculare, polyspermum.
Spec. Char. F. fol. integerrimis, flor. solitariis.

This tree seldom rises very high, being usually crooked and distorted: it sends off several branches, and is covered with a brown bark: the leaves are simple, roundish or oval, entire, on the upper side of a dusky green colour, on the under, whitish, and stand upon short footstalks: the flowers are large, solitary, of a pale red or white colour, and placed close to the axillae of the leaves: the calyx is composed of one leaf, and divided into five spreading oval notched segments: the corolla consists of five petals; these are large, convex, roundish, and notched at their extremities: the filaments are about twenty, tapering, shorter than the corolla, inserted into the calyx, and furnished with simple anthers: the germen is orbicular: the styles are five, slender, nearly of the length of the filaments, and supplied with simple stigmata: the fruit is of the apple kind, and divided at the centre into five membranous cells, containing the seeds, which are oblong, angular, pointed at one end, obtuse at the other, on one side compressed, on the other flat, and covered with a brownish pellicle. It is a native of Austria, [Vide Aiton's Hort. Kew.] and flowers in May and June.

It appears from Pliny, [Lib. xv. cap. 11. Heifter Diss. de Cydoniis, p. 59.] that the malus Cydonia, or (greek) of the Greeks, was originally brought from Cydon in Crete, hence the name Cydonia. At present, the Quince tree is known to grow wild on the banks of the Danube, though in a much less luxuriant state than we observe it in British gardens, where it was cultivated in the time of Gerard. The form of the fruit approaches to that of the pear or apple, according to the different varieties of this species of tree from which it is produced, and which we have already noticed under the synonyms: it has a pleasant odour, and a very austere taste: [But upon being boiled and preserved in syrup, this fruit is well known to give a pleasant flavour to apple-pies.] its expressed juice, repeatedly taken in small quantities, is said to be cooling, restringent, and stomachic, useful in nausea, vomitings, nidorous eructations, and some kind of alvine fluxes. [Lewis Mat. Med. p. 267.] Formerly this juice was ordered in the Lond. Pharm. to be made into a syrup; but the only preparation of the Quince which it now directs is a mucilage of the seeds, made by boiling a dram of the seeds in eight ounces of water, till it acquires a proper consistence. This has been recommended in apthous affections, and excoriations of the mouth and fauces. It may be a more pleasant mucilage, but it is certainly a less efficacious one, than that of the simple gums.

Medical Botany, 1790-1794, was written by William Woodville, M. D., and illustrated by James Sowerby.