FRUCTUS, the Association for the Promotion of Old Fruits, in Cademario TI together with the Association of Chestnut Producers of Italian Switzerland chose the chestnut variety Lüina as the Swiss fruit variety of the year 2019. For several centuries it was of great importance for the cultivation of chestnuts in southern Switzerland.
Frugal and productive
The Lüina made no great demands on the ground and felt at home at altitudes of 300 to 1000 m. Well maintained and without competition from forest trees, the trees thrived well on barren soil and on steep slopes and quickly developed into stately trees. They not only regularly supplied their owners with fruit, but also supplied wood for construction and firewood.
In the inventory of chestnut varieties, which was completed in 2003 with the support of the federal government, the Lüina was found mainly in the central and northern part of southern Switzerland. There it was often known by local names such as Livina, Alvigna, Viosola, Buné bianch and others.
Variety diversity is demanding
As a result of the chestnut bark cancer, thousands of chestnut trees have been introduced since 1950, including many of the Lüina trees. A large part of the varieties of chestnut even disappeared forever and the surviving varieties were hardly further refined. The current efforts to promote chestnut culture therefore also include the preservation of the remaining varieties. On behalf of the Federal Government, 102 old varieties of chestnut are preserved in the two primary collections in Biasca and Cademario. The Lüina and some other varieties are being propagated despite ongoing problems with chestnut diseases in the cantonal forest nursery in Morbido TI. The young trees are planted among other things for rejuvenation in worthwhile chestnut groves (Selven).
Using the heritage and passing it on
Over the centuries, the Lüina has adapted perfectly to the extreme locations of southern Switzerland. This makes it part of the genetic diversity of cultivated plants in Switzerland. It is like all old chestnut varieties hardly competitive against the big marroni from the south, but still finds its way into the local market or in the production of specialties. Above all, their genetic material holds a treasure trove of genetic properties that must be preserved. Thanks to the efforts of the Confederation and the cantons of Ticino and Grisons, organizations such as the Association of Chestnut Producers of the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland and many private chestnut friends, this will also be available to future generations. FRUCTUS supports this endeavor and appoints the Lüina to the Swiss fruit variety of the year 2019.