QUINCE , name of both a tree, Cydonia oblonga, and its fruit. It is not mentioned in the Bible, but in rabbinic literature it is referred to under three names: ḥavush, parish, and aspargal. Ḥavush (Aram. ḥavusha) is mentioned as being given to the sick (Tosef., Ter. 7:13). It is an aromatic fruit and is enumerated together with the etrog among the fruits over whose fragrance a blessing should be recited (Ber. 43b). The name parish is found in a discussion as to the permissibility, in time of emergency, of substituting some other large and beautiful fruit for the etrog in order to fulfill the precept of the Four Species, and it was decided in the negative (Tosef. Suk. 2:9, 31a–b). According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Kil. 1:3, 27a), it was so called because it is the only fruit reserved (parush) for the pot, i.e., it is inedible in its raw state and must be cooked. The same passage notes that its Aramaic name is aspargal which is the Arabic name for the quince. The Mishnah lays down that the quince belongs to the same species as the hawthorn (uzrar). Apparently the ancients took the latter to be a degenerate quince.
Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 240ff.; J. Feliks, Kilei Zera'im ve-Harkavah (1967), 93–96. add. bibliography: J. Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 128.
quince / kwins/ • n. 1. a hard, acid, pear-shaped fruit used in preserves or as flavoring. 2. the shrub or small tree (Cydonia oblonga) of the rose family that bears this fruit, native to western Asia. ∎ (Japanese quince) another term for japonica.