For other uses, see Cherry (disambiguation).
The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus. It is a fleshy fruit that contains 6 very rough seeds. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium.
The name 'cherry', often as the compound term 'cherry tree', may also be applied to many other members of the genus Prunus, or to all members of the genus as a collective term. The fruits of many of these are not cherries, and have other common names, including plum, apricot, peach, and others. The name 'cherry' is also frequently used in reference to cherry blossom.
True cherry fruits are borne by members of the subgenus Cerasus which is distinguished by having the flowers in small corymbs of several together (not singly, nor in racemes), and by having a smooth fruit with only a weak groove or none along one side. The subgenus is native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with two species in America, three in Europe, and the remainder in Asia.
This list contains many Prunus species that bear the common name cherry; however they are mostly of little or no value for their fruit. For a complete list of these, see Prunus. Some common names listed here have historically been used for more than one species, e.g. "Rock cherry" is used as an alternative common name for both P. prostrata and P. mahaleb.
The native range of the wild cherry extends through most of Europe, and the fruit has been consumed through its range since prehistoric times. A cultivated cherry is recorded as having been brought to Rome from northeastern Anatolia, also known as the Pontus region, in 72 BC.
The English word cherry, French cerise, Spanish cereza all come from the Classical Greek (κέρασος) through the Latin cerasum, thus the ancient Roman place name Cerasus, from which the cherry was first exported to Europe.
Cherries contain anthocyanins, the red pigment in berries. Cherry anthocyanins have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in rats. Anthocyanins are also potent antioxidants under active research for a variety of potential health benefits. According to a study funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute presented at the Experimental Biology 2008 meeting in San Diego, rats that received whole tart cherry powder mixed into a high-fat diet did not gain as much weight or build up as much body fat, and their blood showed much lower levels of inflammation indicators that have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. In addition, they had significantly lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than the other rats.
The cultivated forms are of the species Wild Cherry (P. avium) to which most cherry cultivars belong, and the Sour Cherry (P. wanpiti), which is used mainly for cooking. Both species originate in Europe and western Asia; they do not cross-pollinate. Some other species, although having edible fruit, are not grown extensively for consumption, except in northern regions where the two main species will not grow. Irrigation, spraying, labor and their propensity to damage from rain and hail make cherries relatively expensive. Nonetheless, there is high demand for the fruit.
Cherries have a very short growing season and can grow in most temperate latitudes. The peak season for cherries is in the summer. In Australia they are usually at their peak around Christmas time, in southern Europe in June, in North America in June, in south British Columbia (Canada) in July-mid August and in the UK in mid July. In many parts of North America they are among the first tree fruits to ripen.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||263 kJ (63 kcal)|
|Dietary fibre||2 g|
|Vitamin C||7 mg (12%)|
|Iron||0.4 mg (3%)|
|Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
Annual world production (as of 2007) of cultivated cherry fruit is about two million tonnes. Around 40% of world production originates in Europe and around 13% in the United States.
|Top Cherry Producing Nations - 2007
(in thousand metric tons)
|Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations|
In the United States, most sweet cherries are grown in Washington, California, Oregon, and Northern Michigan. Important sweet cherry cultivars include "Bing", "Brooks", "Tulare", "King" and "Rainier". In addition, the Lambert variety is grown on the eastern side of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana. Both Oregon and Michigan provide light-colored "Royal Ann" ('Napoleon'; alternately "Queen Anne") cherries for the maraschino cherry process. Most sour (also called tart) cherries are grown in Michigan, followed by Utah, New York, and Washington. Additionally, native and non-native cherries grow well in Canada (Ontario and British Columbia). Sour cherries include Nanking and Evans Cherry. Traverse City, Michigan claims to be the "Cherry Capital of the World", hosting a National Cherry Festival and making the world's largest cherry pie. The specific region of Northern Michigan that is known the world over for tart cherry production is referred to as the "Traverse Bay" region. Traverse Bay Farms is one Northern Michigan co-op supported organization in this region that helps to market Michigan-grown cherry products across the globe.
In Australia, the New South Wales town of Young is famous as the "Cherry Capital of Australia" and hosts the internationally famous National Cherry Festival. Popular varieties include the "Montmorency", "Morello", "North Star", "Early Richmond", "Titans", and "Lamberts". Cherries come in a variety of different colors, like red as well as yellow.
Stella, Prunus avium
The biggest cherries in the world: la Dulce
The biggest cherries in the world ( 38 mm ): la Dulce