ĀLBĀLŪ (or ĀLŪBĀLŪ), sour cherry (Cerasus vulgaris), a tree of western Asia and eastern Europe. The fruits are light brown or dark red, resembling those of the common cherry. The kernels of the seeds have the odor of bitter almonds; tonic and nutritive, they are used in confections. The dried fruit, usually an ingredient of āǰīl-e šīrīn, is eaten, in particular by children during the winter. It is also used as a purgative for bilious disorders. In the past both cherry stones mixed with barley awns and cherry petioles (leaf stems) were given for gonorrhea. Sour cherries are cooked with rice in making the popular dish ālbālū-polow. They are also preserved (morabbā-ye ālbālū) or used to make a refreshing sherbet.


Ī. Afšār, ed., Āšpazī-e dawra-ye Ṣafawī (containing two independent texts), Tehran, 1360 Š./1981, pp. 222-23.

A. A. Āšpaz-bāšī, Sofra-ye aṭʿema, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974, pp. 4, 13, 53, 57, 70, 72.

(A. Parsa)

Originally Published: December 15, 1985

Last Updated: July 29, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 8, p. 806

Cite this entry:

A. Parsa, “ĀLBĀLŪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/8, p. 806; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/albalu-or-alubalu-sour-cherry-cerasus-vulgaris-a-tree-of-western-asia-and-eastern-europe (accessed on 17 May 2014).