The botanist teach us that the tree of
the PRUNUS CERASUS is not tall, only in
exceptional cases reaching 4 or 5 mt., while
the head spreads to 3 or 4 mt. From the
trunk branches spring at various heights.
The head is at first pyramidal, later becoming round in an irregular way. The main branches are slanting, while the fruit-bearing boughs are slender and drooping. The bark is reddish. Shoots spring freely from the roots, and if the tree is left to itself it will soon infest a large circle of ground, to the detriment of its own longevity and productivity.
The leaves are lanceolate, small, straight, serrated, glossy green above, and lighter green on the outside, where the large and small veins can be seen. Buds grow on the slender, drooping boughs from the previous year, and usually have blossoms in clusters of four flowers. The latter have a reddish calyx of ungulate sepals, and a spoon-shaped corolla of five white petals.
Blossoming time is end of March or April
according to latitude, and lasts 10 to 15
days. The flowers are fertilized by their
own pollen or by that of other cherries,
including the sweet variety. The fruit is
spherical, slightly attened at the poles.
The stem is long and tough. When ripe, the fruit is dark purple, tending to black. The skin is thin, and the pulp tender and purplish with whitish veins, the juice dark red, acid, bittersweet. The stone is ovoid with a characteristic furrow. Down to about 1700’s the entire production of marascas was concentrated in the region of Almissa, south of Spalato. At the beginning of the 19th century, the demand for marasca cherries in Dalmatia grew very fast after the foundation of the LUXARDO DISTILLERY, which soon became the biggest customer for such fruit.
The exodus from the Dalmatian lands of town-dwellers in consequence of political changes in 1945 brought to Italy the leading maker of MARASCHINO and since it was impossible to draw on the Dalmatian production, it became necessary to extend the areas of marasca cultivation in the peninsula. In the eastern part of the Po Valley rise the Euganean Hills, which are formed of igneous rocks and whitish or reddish calcareous deposits which resemble the great chain of limestone Alps which stretches away to southern Dalmatia.
This beautiful scenery of north-eastern
Italy is where Luxardo still continues to
grow his own marasca cherries today, a
special variety named “Marasca Luxardo”.
Such variety was first selected by GIORGIO LUXARDO with the help of Professor Morettini from the University of Florence. The selection lasted several years and led to a fruit which was particularly suitable for industrial use. Smaller in size and richer in juice, “MARASCA LUXARDO” is now cultivated in modern orchards spread throughout the north-eastern part of Italy, constantly overseen by the Luxardo company. Since the LUXARDO FAMILY controls the entire production process of its specialties from raw material to bottling, new “Marasca Luxardo” orchards have recently been planted to cope with the growing request for Luxardo Maraschino Originale around the world.