Indigenous to South Africa, the broad-leaved wild quince is a medium to large tree, growing up to 20 m tall, with a spreading crown. Evergreen and known to be a fast grower, this is a specimen that will do well in parks or in large gardens.
Cryptocarya latifolia originates from KwaZulu-Natal where it grows in evergreen forests along river banks. It flourishes in sun or partial shade and is somewhat frost-resistant. The bark of the tree is smooth, with a grey-brown colour and has fine, vertical fissures. The leaves are broad with a leathery texture, and are a dark green colour. During spring, small greenish white flowers appear as long branched sprays and attract butterflies and insects. These are followed by green, spherical fruit that becomes black after it has fallen. The fruits are eaten by birds and mammals.
The natural population of the tree in KwaZulu-Natal has been decreasing as the bark has purported medicinal and magical properties which make it valuable to traditional healers. However, the broad leaved quince adapts well to varying conditions and can be planted in most areas with a moderate climate.