The recovery of the original traits
The data achieved from the first year of the research project state that Lungavilla’s cultivar had its own traits which could be clearly distinguished from the ones of the compared landraces. Analysis of samples also showed an heterogeneous genetic structure in Lungavilla’s landrace, predictable enough, given both the small number of plants survived to extinction and the allogamous character of the pumpkin.
The recovery project started in 2008, when plots including solely Lungavilla’s landrace started to be organized. Every year samples were taken to AFLP analysis, and at the same time morphology of fruits coming from plants genetically analyzed was studied according to criteria suggested by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). In order to set the pool of morphological characters to be recovered, farmers that had previously experienced Lungavilla’s landraces were interviewed and a morphological pattern was identified. In 2008 the fruits complying with the desired pattern were 37%. In 2013 the shape of more than 95% of fruits was in accordance with the original traits of the landrace and it was possible to ask for the assignment of De.C.O. mark.
In Italy De.C.O. is a registered mark recognized by Public Institutions which was introduced to protect and value crops produced in restricted areas. Those products are the result of an historical heritage. De.C.O. mark was conferred to Berretta di Lungavilla landrace in May 2012. De.C.O. implies the adoption of a policy document which, in the case of Lungavilla’s landrace, establishes the area where the crop can be cultivated and the fruit morphological characters: capped shape (two lobes) 1.8 – 4 Kg in weight, grey-green colour, smooth surface, upper lobe greater than lower one, ratio between diameters of lobes 1.5-1.8.