Arbutus unedo

Arbutus unedo

The arbutus (Arbutus unedo L., 1753), also known as albatross, is a bushy or small tree plant long enough to become secular and belonging to the Ericaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view, the corbezzolo belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, the Kingdom Plantae, the Tracheobionta Substitution, the Magnoliophyta Division, the Magnoliopsida Class, the Ericales Order, the Ericaceae Family, the Arbutoideae Subfamily, and then the Arbutus Genus and Species A. unedo.

Etymology –
The term corbezzolo derives from the vulgar Latin * corbitjus, intersected by the mediterranean lemma (preindoeuropean) corba survived in northern Italy. This name comes in turn from the Greek name of the bush (κόμαρος – pron. Kòmaros) and from this many dialectical names of the plant (Marche, Calabria, Apulia, Campania), and also the name of Monte Cònero, headland on whose northern slopes The city of Ancona rises, and its vegetation is rich in rowan plants.
The epithet of this genus comes from the Latin arbuteus, derived from arbutus, also a lemma of Mediterranean origin (Preindoeuropeo). The origin of the species’s name, unedi, derives from Pliny the Elder who, in contrast to the appreciation that generally obtains the flavor of the fruit, claimed that it was insipid and that therefore after having eaten one (unum = one and edo = Eat) did not want to eat more.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The beetle is a characteristic feature of Mediterranean scrub, where it forms pure complexes or lives in consortium with other thermophilic elements, as well as in stains at Mirto, Alloro, Leccio, Lentisco and Sughera; Its area runs from the Iberian Peninsula and from Africa to the Black Sea. It is spread in the western Mediterranean countries and reaches the southern coasts of Ireland.
It finds an optimal habitat in the woods, rocky places, walks and garlands, which in interglacial times colonized to distant areas from the present spreading area, so that today it is possible to find the Arbutus unedo in France on the Atlantic coast in south- West and in Italy in the Adige valley and on the Euganean hills, areas that have remained as wrecks. It prefers siliceous and vegetal soils at altitudes between 0 and 800 meters. The dumbbell is a xerophilic plant.

Description –
The Corbezzolo is a very branched evergreen shrub with reddish-reddish branches. It can reach a height of 1 to 8 meters. The leaves have the typical characteristics of sclerophilic plants. They have oval shaped lanceolate, they are 2-4 centimeters wide and 10-12 centimeters long with dented margin. They are thickened at the apex of the branches and have a short petiole. The foil is crunchy and is shiny and dark-green in the upper, while the bottom is clearer.
The flowers of this plant are clustered in pendants that can contain up to 20. The corolla is white-yellowish or pinkish, embossed and with 5 small teeth folded outwards wide 5-8mm and long 6-10 mm. The anthers are of deep dark red color with two yellow croissants. Are rich in nectar, and for this reason they are intensely visited by bees, especially when climatic conditions, during flowering allow it. For this reason, from an ecological point of view, the dumpling has a fundamental role since its flowers are the last honey of the season, precious for its particular taste, bitter and aromatic. This honey is also valuable because not always the bees are still active at the time of flowering, and not all the years it is possible to produce it, as the flowering occurs between October and November.
The fruit of the Arbutus unedo is a spherical berry of about two centimeters, fleshy and red at maturity, covered with tubercles quite rigid thick a few millimeters with u flavor between the acidity and sweetness also depending on their maturation status. Their maturation takes place between October and December, the following year with respect to the flowering that gives them origin. Since fruits have a scalar maturation, mature and lighter berries can be present on the same shrub. In fact, the same shrub can simultaneously accommodate flowers and ripe fruits beside the leaves because it is evergreen, which makes it particularly ornamental, for the presence on the tree of three lively colors: the fruit red, the white flowers and the leaves green .
Particularly interesting is the use of birch wood as it is an excellent home heating fuel and particularly valuable in use for roasts thanks to its aromatic characteristics. The bush is a very robust and heavy wood; After about 60 days of cutting can lose up to 40% of its weight.

Cultivation –
Although it is an unproductive berry, it is also used as an ornamental plant, there are so many different varieties that differ in some important aspects. It can grow in the shape of a shrub, but if well laid out it can become a small tree. The fruits are called coffins or sometimes albatres.
Of this plant there are several varieties with different characteristics both from the ornamental point of view and from the fruit consistency.
Breeding can be done through seed or through plant transplantation, through young astonishes of a few years old also found in the nursery.
Seedlings are harvested in October or November when fruits have matured. Always in the same period, it is possible to transplant the stingers into mild winter areas. In the colder areas, the end of the winter season and the first months of spring are awaited.
The Corbezzolo plant is resistant to extreme winter temperatures and very hot summers. Its cultivation can take place from the plain to the footpaths of 800-1100 meters.
The plant favors moderately acidic soils as it escapes from too much limestone. The ideal soil for the needles is that of medium dough with a good supply of sand in order to increase drainage capacity. However, the corbezzolo plant has a great adaptability to the typology of the soil and can easily tolerate heavy substrates important and well drained.
The implantation of young seedlings is carried out after appropriate field work and any pH correction if necessary. The sixth of the plant for the corbezzoli are about 3-4 meters between the plants and 4 to 5 meters between the files.
Plant sowing proceeds as mentioned in the autumn as soon as the fruits reach maturation. The ripe fruit should be sown in a substrate rich in organically tired organic substance mixed with 50% with sand. After planting, it is necessary to keep the shelves under shelter at a constant temperature and practice regular irrigation, always keeping the surface of the soil with a certain degree of humidity.
Another method of reproduction is by using woody cuttings that are made at the end of summer. In order to reproduce the needle, the reproduction method defined in the definition of the cut-off margin is particularly effective.
The stinging margin is realized in the autumn period by choosing a healthy pollen that grows at the base of the plant. The collar of the plant will be slightly decorticated and it will be made of soil around the base of the suckling, in the following months it will have a roots issue, thus obtaining a new specimen that can be transplanted at home.
After planting the plant and for at least 2-3 years it will be necessary to provide winter protections by mulching at the base of the plants and in the first 20-30 cm of the stem using material such as straw.
Always in the early years it is important to carry out mechanical grouting operations in order to limit the vegetation of the weeds and allow the plants to develop without problems.
The plant can also be grown in pots especially for ornamental purposes; In this case you need to choose a container deep enough at least 45-50 cm. Before the system it is advisable to distribute to the bottom of the drainage material to favor the water broth. The soil to be used should be not too rich in nutrients (you may have a rapid growth) with a good percentage of sand and a sub acidic pH.
The best exposure for sunflower plant is in full sunlight, it also tolerates mid-shaded positions. As for the temperature requirements, the plant is rustic and tolerant in cold winter even at -15 degrees. Corbezzolo is also resistant to hot summers with high temperatures, both with moderate to high humidity and dry climate. For this reason it is a highly adaptable plant. However, even if it shows a particular resistance to the cold winter it is good that at the time of fruit ripening the plant is not exposed to frost or intense snowfall.
Irrigation of the bushbill allows for an increase in production and to favor the development of the plant. Irrigation measures must, however, be moderate and practiced taking into account soil conditions.
Foliar fertilization is carried out from the second year on from the plant. Two methods can be used to fertilize the rootstock plant, the first being by using cattle or equine manure to be administered as mulching on the root area, manure must necessarily be well mature.
Alternatively, chemical fertilizers are used for each plant with about 40-50 g of technical urea, 200 g potassium sulphate-50, and 130 g of mineral-19 perfusion. But, for obvious ecological reasons, this technique is not recommended.
The most common form of cultivation for the plant is the sapling plant that supports the natural growth of the plant. The pruning pruning must be limited, and for this reason, it is necessary to breed the plant with a sapling without too much intervention on the shape.
Annually you can remove basal pollen with a satin cut on the ground unless you want to reproduce new plants. Cuts on old and diseased ramifications are performed in April, after cuts it is preferable to apply a protective mask.
Lastly, in the harvesting of berry fruits, it occurs in the autumn. The harvesting phase requires a lot of attention as the flowers are present on the plant that will spring into the year after the new fruits. It is therefore not necessary to damage the branching of the flower buds.
The fruits have a precise degree of maturation that must be evaluated for the first time with sample collections, collecting them at different degrees of maturation to easily understand when harvesting.
Once removed from the plant, the cuttings are not preserved for a long time, they tend to have a fairly rapid tendency to fermentation and should therefore be consumed in a short time.
The bark is a particularly resistant plant, but it is not immune to external parasitic attacks.
The fungal diseases affecting the corbezzolo are: collar rot, root rot, armpit anthrax, branch of the branches and seccume of the stem, septum of the corbezzolo. There are also some insects that infest the arboreal plant among the most important ones we recall Green Aphid, Spider Torture, Oziorhynchus sulcatus.

Uses and Traditions –
The carob is one of the most typical plants and features of the Mediterranean regions and the southern coasts of the Atlantic. In Italy it is common in Liguria, along the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian slopes, in Sardinia, Sicily, and on several smaller islands where, in some areas, it becomes a major protagonist in the construction of a particularly expressive evergreen landscape. Fruits are reddish, reddish and sweet-spherical spherical berries that can be eaten fresh or transformed into jams.
Corbezzolo is a plant known in classical mythology: Meat, the hedge of the family living in the place where Rome would grow, with a branch of corbezzolo removed the witches and healed the sick children.
The landscape value of this species is exalted during the autumnal period by the presence of numerous bell-shaped flowers and fruit of varying color, depending on the degree of maturation, from green to yellow, to orange, to red and finally to Purple red. The color of leaves, flowers and fruits recalls those of the Italian flag for which during the Risorgimento it symbolized the “national plant” par excellence.
Thermophilous and medial lucivagus species has a fast developmental juvenile development and a remarkable resistance to the passage of fire due to the low flammability of both its branches and the litterbox. After a fire, it is among the first species to grow vegetation by emitting numerous and vigorous radical pollen (Camarda & al., 1982) that in the short time cover the soil, heat up the hillside and form extensive and dense green spots.
Among the larger individuals listed in the Sicilian territory, there is a particular interest in the Roman Villa of the Casale in Piazza Armerina, in whose vicinity this species forms the remains of Mediterranean scrub.
Fruits are edible, they can be consumed directly, stored in spirit, used to prepare jams and liqueurs, bake them in sugar to caramel them; With fermentation they provide good spirits and make them macerate for 10 to 30 days in alcoholic solution if you get a delicate liqueur in use especially in the Marches and Corsica. In the Marches, and specifically in the area of ​​the promontory of Monte Conero, a secular tradition required that the inhabitants of the area fasted on the day of the saints Simone and Judah (October 28) in the woods to eat abundantly the fruits of the corbezzolo crowning the branches of the plant, perpetuating So a bacon rite revamped in a Christian key. Nowadays the feathered feast is no longer officially celebrated, but the locals in the Conero area still love to go to the woods of the promontory to pick up the crabs during the beautiful autumn days.
Of the precious honeydew honey has already been mentioned earlier because it is a good mellifera plant.
In the past, the leaves of the carob, being rich in tannins and arbutoside, were used to tanning the skins. Preparations in decoction have diuretic, astringent and antiseptic characteristics. The fruits have anti-diarrheal effect. However, they contain an alkaloid that may cause, in people particularly sensitive to it, usually not serious disadvantages. These effects were known to the ancients who advocate a moderate use, the name derives from the contraction of unum edo, that is, I eat only one.
The plant has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidiuretic properties.
The fruits in particular are rich in vitamin C, young leaves contain arbutin, a glucoside that can be used as a disinfectant of the urogenital tract
Decoction of leaves is useful in treating cuperose, it has a shining effect; The same decoction is useful in the care of dilated capillaries present on the legs. Decoction of roots can be used to normalize fatty and comedonic skin.
In Sardinia, from the flowers of Corbezzolo, a precious honey is obtained which has read balsamic properties.
The bark contains a considerable amount of tannins used to produce dyes and tanning the skins.
The Coat of Arms of the Province of Ancona has a golden branch of golden bushes to indicate the major geographical feature of the area: the presence of the promontory of the Conero whose name, as mentioned above, derives from the Greek term indicating the plant of the bush.
The coat of arms of Madrid features a bushy tree and an owl. The Latin poet Ovid speak of the dwarf describing life in the age of the Gold.
The poet Giovanni Pascoli devoted poetry to the bush. In fact, in the Risorgimento, the carpenter, precisely because of the colors it assumes in the fall, is equal to those of the national flag, was considered a symbol of the Tricolor.
Virgil in Eneid confirms the custom of laying A. branches on the tombs of the dead, probably as a wish of immortality. In the language of flowers is a symbol of hospitality. The exclamation “corbezzoli” comes from looking for a less vague form of the exclamation “I do not break the corbelli”, perhaps even by the similarity of its fruits with the “corbelli”.
The plant was known by ancient Greeks also as “kòmaros”, they consumed both fresh and fermented fruits.
Corbezzolo is nurturing larvae species of the Nymphalidae Charaxes jasus family, a wonderful butterfly, precisely because of this commonly known “corbezzolo nymph”, which grows at the expense of A. unedo leaves.
In the language of flowers is a symbol of hospitality.
The exclamation “corbezzoli” comes from looking for a less vague form of the exclamation “I do not break the corbelli”, perhaps even by the similarity of its fruits with the “corbelli”.
Corbezzolo is nurturing larvae species of the Nymphalidae Charaxes jasus family, a wonderful butterfly, precisely because of this commonly known “corbezzolo nymph”, which grows at the expense of A. unedo leaves.

Methods of Preparation –
The corbezzolo possesses many therapeutic properties, so that the Latins used to attribute magical powers to its fruits. As mentioned, they contain many tannins: as a valid urinary antiseptic, you can easily prepare an infuser of corbezzolo using about 6-7 grams of corbezzolo leaves for each cup of water, leaving them infused for 15 minutes. The inflorescence infusion will help you fight cystitis and inflammation of the bladder.
In the kitchen you can prepare a very tempting variant of the usual vinegar. To make marjoram vinegar, a handful of ripe ripe berries, 6 bay leaves and a liter of vinegar are enough: put laurel and berry in a bottle, add vinegar, carefully close the bottle and let the mixture rest in a Cool and dry place in the dark for about three weeks. The bushes will mature inside the bottle by reaching the red color that distinguishes them: you can use the vinegar to the dumplings to season salads of special taste or give it to friends, who will certainly appreciate the delicate gift of this rare fruit.
Garlic Jam is a delight for gourmet chefs who appreciate it: the crab is usually not found in the supermarket or in the market benches. You could have a tree in the garden or find these red fruits, now rare, wandering through the countryside. After collecting them, wash the needles and put them in a pot and cover them with cold water. Let them boil for about 20 minutes, then crush them by pressing a spoon on a tea strainer to separate the seeds and the pulp. Once the pulp is obtained (about 500 grams), add 140 grams of cane sugar (which should be less than one third compared to the weight of the crab) and the juice of half a lemon squeezed: boil in a boiled pot. Remember, it takes ten minutes to cook! Then just have to set up the table and invite your friends for a tea with jumbo jam.
Another preparation may be that of the deciduous bush that can be used as a tonic. The leaf infusion, in addition to being excellent against urinary tract infections, kidneys, fever and diarrhea, is astringent. You can dry and store the leaves of dandelion, to be left in cans, ready to use. And remember that the decoction of the rootstock root according to some studies is a valid ally in the care of artesclerosis.
In addition to fresh consumption, the dumplings can also be used to prepare different recipes such as pastry and jam.
The past of crabs consists in making a puree with or without sugar addition. The process for realization is very simple, you get a crusher or a passe and work the fruits that need to be well washed before. The past can be used for the preparation of sweets or consumed with the addition of sugar or lemon.
The juniper jam is made by creating a puree as for the past. The necessary ingredients are: Cucumber, sugar and lemon.
After making the puree add half the sugar by weight and a lemon for every kg of past, blend well and bring to a boil. If necessary add additional sugar. Once boiling, you can invade and then, sealed the cans, immerse them in lukewarm water and boil for 30 minutes.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, no responsibility for their use for any curative, aesthetic or food use is considered.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *