Atzerolera trees used to be very common in Mallorca, but in recent years they’ve started to disappear and locals are now being encouraged to grow them to prevent them becoming extinct.
“The trees produce two varieties of fruit and the white one is slightly less acidic than the red one, which is also smaller. They taste like sweet and sour apples and are chock full of Vitamin C. It's a strong fruit that withstands frost and drought very well and the trees don’t have to be watered so they're easy to maintain,” explains Jaume Rigo, Managing Director of the Centre Universitari in Manacor.
The atzerolera tree grows to lofty heights and without the leaves it looks just like an almond tree. It’s also not affected by Xylella fastidiosa.
Jaume Rigo is passionate about cultivating the land and has been growing atzeroleras his whole life.
“The atzerolera tree bears more fruit than any almond tree," he says. "If you have a piece of land or a garden, plant one if you can, please don't let them become extinct!” he pleads on Facebook. “The atzerolera is not sown from seed, it has to be done by grafting or cutting and is usually done with wild bushes that are used for making liqueurs.”
The Association of Local Varieties in Mallorca has signed agreements with local nurseries throughout the island to make atzerolera trees available for those interested in growing them.