Sweet Cherry

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Sweet Cherry


(Cerasus avium), a deciduous tree of the family Rosaceae. The crown is ovate with sparse branches. The trunk measures 50–60 cm across and reaches a height of 35 m. The long petioled leaves are ovate, obovate, or elliptical; their margins are deeply double-serrate. The large flowers are initially white but turn pink toward the end of blossoming. The stipules are reddish. The fruit is a dark red drupe.

The sweet cherry is distributed in Central and Southern Europe and in Iran. In the USSR it is found in the Caucasus, the Crimea, the southwestern Ukraine, and Moldavia. The sweet cherry occurs as a solitary tree principally in mixed broad-leaved and coniferous-broad-leaved forests.

The cultivated form of sweet cherry is raised for its drupaceous fruit. The trees are long-lived (100 or more years). They are shade-tolerant but not very winter-hardy. Fruiting begins in the seventh or eighth year. The juicy fruits, which are pink, red, yellow, or almost black, mature from late May to early September. They contain 7–15 percent sugars (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) and 0.36–1.1 percent acids (malic and others); vitamin C is present. The fruits are eaten fresh or processed into compote, jam, candied peel, juice or wine. Freezing is also possible. The kernel of the stone contains as much as 30 percent oil, which is used in perfumery.

The sweet cherry is a nectar-bearer. Its wood is used in carpentry and in the manufacture of musical instruments. The tree is raised in Europe, as well as in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, China, and Japan. In the USSR it is most widely cultivated in the Crimea, the Caucasus, the southern Ukraine, and Middle Asia; it is also grown in Latvia and Kaliningrad Oblast. The best varieties are Deiber Black, Drogan Yellow, Gedelfinger, Franz Josef (Francis), Napoleon Pink, and Early Kassena.

The sweet cherry is propagated mainly by grafts on stocks of wild sweet cherry in the southern zone and Mahaleb cherry in more northerly regions. The feeding area of sweet cherry is 8 × 6 m. The best crown shape for cultivated trees is circled. Care entails loosening the soil, the application of organic and mineral fertilizers, watering, and pruning. The interrow areas are usually kept fallow.


Kolesnikov, M. A. Chereshnia. Moscow, 1959.
Plodovodstvo, 2nd ed. Edited by V. A. Kolesnikov. Moscow, 1966.