Susino Armascia gialla (local variety of plum)

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Susino Armascia gialla (local variety of plum)

Susino Armascia gialla (local variety of plum)

Prunus domestica L.


The fruits, of medium-small size (26 g in weight), have an elliptical shape and are symmetrical in the ventral view. The suture near the petiole is shallow, while the depression at the apex is weak with no pubescence. The skin has a yellowish green to yellow background color. The pulp, yellow in color, is moderately soft with little succulence.
The core has a narrow elliptical shape in both lateral and ventral views. The truncation of the base is narrow, the development of the keel is weak, while the shape of the apex is acute. The lateral face has a hammered texture, while the apex has an acute shape. The seed represents 4% of the total weight of the fruit. The pulp separates very easily from the stone.

Flowering occurs between the end of March and the beginning of April (first ten days of April for Stanley). The ripening of the fruits occurs around the third ten days of July (first ten days of August for Stanley). The collection is graduated and the consumption, given the easy perishability, is immediate.

The local denomination with which this old plum cultivar is known in the Amerino area does not have a clear etymological origin, since the unusual term Armascia is completely absent from dictionaries of any lexicographic genre (including dialectal ones). On the other hand, the exotic nature that since Roman times has been accompanied in the collective imagination (learned and popular) by the fruit of the domestic plum is widely documented. As more recent sources attest, the denomination derives from the synonym of plum from the city of Susa in Persia (Muratori L., Dissertations on Italian antiquities, Marchini, Florence, 1832: 310).
A study hypothesis in this sense is offered by the striking case of linguistic corruption which, over the centuries, has characterized the nomenclature of the most cited and esteemed plum in history: the Damascena or Damaschina plum. Several authors, in different periods, have in fact referred to this variety using a mix of names. On the other hand, the alteration of the name is so well known as to be codified in the Great Dictionary of Italian Use and in the Great Dictionary of the Italian Language of Battaglia under the heading amoscino/damasceno, as well as in numerous dialect dictionaries which report the heading in its multiple local and/or slang versions: ramassin, moscin, ammassina, amoscina, armuscin (De Mauro T., Great Italian dictionary of use, vol. I, A-CG, Turin, UTET). It is therefore no coincidence that, for example, a variety of Plum from Piedmont is called with one of these names: Ramassin del Saluzzese. Quite plausible, therefore, that the term Armascia could constitute one of the many variants and/or dialectical distortions used, in different times and places, to designate the very ancient Damaschina, to which the fruit taken in the Amelia area would seem to be similar even in appearance. In fact, comparing the Armascia plum with the description and image given by Gallesio in his Pomona regarding the summer Damaschina, it is possible to detect numerous morphological and organoleptic concordances. Over the centuries, in fact, Damaschina spread widely throughout the country, finding its ideal habitat in many Italian regions. The cultivars of Damaschine traceable in our peninsula are quite numerous, Tamaro classifies them as a real varietal family: «round, oblong, ovoid, suitable for serving and drying». He mentions the summer Damaschina plum among the best. The agronomist Mancinelli also speaks of the variety in his work “The Figs and Plums of Amelia” of 1925.

The variety is quite widespread in the Amerino area and particularly in the Municipality of Amelia. Currently, compared to the past, a small number of specimens survive, as the variety is no longer being cultivated, except for family consumption.

Used for fresh consumption, as table fruit.

Texts taken from “Regional Register of Autochthonous Genetic Resources of the Umbria Region”