LAzzeruolo (Crataegus azarolus L.) belongs to the Rosaceae family.
And also called Lazzeruolo.
Most botanists believe that this species originates from Asia Minor or the island of Crete, from which it would have spread as a cultivation throughout the rest of the Mediterranean and Europe.
However, even in Italy it is sometimes encountered in a completely spontaneous form that could be interpreted both as a secondary wilderness due to birds, and as a relic of an ancient natural distribution of the species, much wider than the current one.
Sapling of no more than 4 meters in height, with an expanded, irregular, not very dense foliage and a straight or slightly sinuous trunk, often with a bushy bearing. The deciduous, alternate leaves, briefly petiolate and endowed with a pair of linear stipules, have an oval or rhombic contour lamina, not too deeply engraved in more or less triangular lobes.
The flowers appear in corymbs erected in April-May, are white and usually have two central styles and stamens with red-violet anthers. The fruit is a globular pommel, in wild plants no wider than 2 cm, up to 4 cm in cultivated varieties.
Thermophilic species, it prefers hilly slopes in good exposure, in particular in the climatic belt of downy oak and holm oak, with clay or limestone substrate.
Widespread in southern Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. Lazzeruolo meets here and there in Liguria, Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Sicily.
Yellow and red azzeroles
Foglia di Azzeruolo (photo by A. Serpieri Agricultural Technical Institute)
Azzeruolo (photo http://creative.plantdatabase.info)
Varieties and rootstocks
In Italy there are three types of commercial varieties: Azzeruolo red from Italy, Azzeruolo white from Italy, Azzeruolo yellow from Canada.
Reproduced from seed, it retains the varietal characteristics, but is very slow in fruiting. It is preferably grafted on hawthorn, but the pear tree, the quince and the medlar can also be used.
The azzeroles (very tasty, reminiscent of the taste of the medlars) eaten fresh are refreshing, refreshing, diuretic and hypotensive; the pulp has anti-anemic and ophthalmic properties.
In jams, jams and jellies, salads and fruit salads; they are used in confectionery, preserved in alcohol and grappa.
In cosmetics, it revitalizes damaged skins thanks to provitamin A.
Cultivated in family orchards and gardens in isolated specimens, in rows or grafted in hawthorn hedges.