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cherry, name for several species of trees or shrubs of the genus Prunus (a few are sometimes classed as Padus) of the family Rosaceae (rose family) and for their fruits. The small, round red to black fruits are botanically designated drupes, or stone fruits, as are those of the closely related peach, apricot, and plum. The cherry is one of the most commonly grown home-orchard fruits. About 600 varieties are cultivated, practically all derived from two species—P. avium (sweet cherries) and P. cerasus (sour cherries). Both are believed to be native to Asia Minor and have long been cultivated; they were mentioned in the writings of the ancients. Sour cherries are hardier and more easily grown than sweet cherries and are mostly self-fertile, while many sweet cherries must be cross-pollinated to bear well. The fruit is popular raw, in preserves, and in pies; cherry cider and liqueurs are also made. Europe is the largest producing area. Several species of the flowering cherry, many native to East Asia, are cultivated as weeping or erect trees for their beautiful, usually double flowers. The Japanese make a national festival of cherry-blossom time; the city of Tokyo presented a number of trees to Washington, D.C., where they have become a popular spring attraction. The species of American wild cherry include the chokecherry, pin cherry, and wild, black cherry. These have smaller fruits than the cultivated cherries and are seldom used except for jelly. Wood of the wild, black cherry, or rum cherry (P. serotina), usually reddish in color, is fine grained and of high quality. It takes a high polish and is prized for cabinetwork. The aromatic bark and leaves contain hydrocyanic acid, characteristic of many cherries. The cherry laurel (P. laurocerasus or Laurocerasus officinalis) is an Old World evergreen species cultivated elsewhere in many varieties as an ornamental. The leaves are sometimes used as a flavoring and in making cherry laurel water. The American cherry laurel (P. or L. caroliniana), called mock orange in the South, is similar but larger. For the cherry plum, or myrobalan, see plum. Cherries are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.
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An even-textured, moderately high-density wood, rich red-brown in color; takes a high luster, and is used for cabinetwork and paneling. See also: Wood
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
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leaves, they are very toxic. White flowers are in vertical bananashaped clusters. Making tea from inner bark treats diarrhea. A very popular common medicinal plant used to treat everything from indigestion to sore throat gargle. Lots of antioxidants and anthocyanins. Do not confuse with Buckthorn which has 2 seeds in the fruit and curved veins in the leaf (cherry leaf veins are straight). Also do not confuse with poisonous Cherry Laurel, which has hard blueblack fruit. Chokecherries are very tart. Chokecherry bark and roots used medicinally by knowledgable natives for sedative, cough, tuberculosis, malaria, stomach ache, worms, respiratory, astringent. Again- do not use bark, leaves and seeds from any Prunus species (plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and almonds) unless you absolutely know what you are doing. Only use the fruit! CHERRY- PIN CHERRIES, (Prunus avium) WILD CHERRIES, (Prunus serotina) All cherries are very high in quercitin (pin cherries are highest), which helps your body be resistant to pain. University studies have taken pin cherry extract and applied it to tumors, and many of the tumors fell off. Cherries are high in vitamin A, iron, lycopene. laxative, stimulates internal organs, prevents tooth decay, cavities, good for prostate, lots of antioxidants, anti-aging. The cherries are edible, but the leaves, bark and pits are poisonous. (cyanide)
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Cerasus), a genus of woody plants of the family Rosaceae. The leaves are alternate; the flowers are white or rose, gathered in small inflorescences or umbels. The fruit is a juicy stone fruit with a spherical stone (endocarp) that holds one seed. There are 150 known species, 21 in the USSR. The most widely distributed are the sour cherry (the ancestor of most of the varieties), ground cherry, sand cherry, and Nan-king cherry. The genus Cerasus also includes the gean. In the USSR the cherry tree is the most widely distributed fruit tree, second only to the apple tree. (Cherry trees ac-count for approximately 27 percent of the area occupied by all fruit tree plantings.) The plants are valued for the good food qualities of the fruit, winter hardiness, early fruit-bearing maturity (in the third or fourth year after planting), and annual high yield (up to 10 tons per hectare). The fruits from cherry trees contain 7.3 to 17.5 percent carbohydrates, 0.8 to 2.4 percent acids, and 0.15 to 0.88 percent tanning substances. They are used both fresh and processed, in the form of preserves, jam, wine, brandy, compotes, and pastry goods. Cherries are cultivated in many countries of the northern hemisphere. In the USSR they are grown mainly in the Ukraine, Moldavia, the Northern Caucasus, the central regions of the RSFSR, the Volga Region, and Byelorussia.

The sour cherry (C. vulgaris) is not found wild but has been cultivated since ancient times. It is supposed that this species originated from the arbitrary crossbreeding of the gean and the ground cherry. There are two groups of cultivated sour cherries—shrubs and trees. The shrub types are small trees with spherical crown and drooping branches; they mature earlier and are more frost-resistant than the tree forms. As a rule, the fruit is dark in color, almost black. (Cherry trees with such fruit are called Morello or Marasca sour cherries.) Shrub cherries bear fruit mainly on the growth from the previous year (on long annual shoots). Tree cherries have a mixed fruit-bearing character, bearing fruit mainly on clusters of twigs and to a lesser extent on shoots. Shrub cherries include the widely distributed varieties Vladimir and Liubskaia; tree cherries include Kent, Sklianka, Amarelle rose, Anadol, and others, mainly from the amarelle group (varieties with colorless juice). The sour cherry is more drought-resistant than other fruit varieties (for instance, apple, pear, or plum).

The ground cherry (C.fruticosa) is a low shrub 0.5 to 1.5 m high which forms abundant root shoots. It grows in the wild state in Central and Southern Europe and, in the USSR, in the Volga Region, the Northern Caucasus, the Urals (up to 56° N lat.), and Western Siberia. Ground cherry plants growing in northern regions are characterized by great frost resistance, drought resistance, and early maturity. The cross-breeding of sour cherry and ground cherry by I. V. Michurin and other breeders has resulted in several winter-hardy and high-yield varieties.

The sand cherry (C. pumila) is a shrub up to 1.5 m high, with leathery, shiny, elliptical leaves, small white sessile flowers, and dark-colored fruits weighing up to 3.5 g and having green and red flesh. It grows wild in the central states of the USA in two forms: the western sand cherry (C. pumila var. besseyi) and the eastern sand cherry (C. pumila). It is valued for its winter hardiness and its high yield. In the USSR it is cultivated in the Urals and in Siberia and is used in breeding. It crossbreeds well with the eastern and American species of plum, apricot, wild myrobalan, and Nanking cherry. The cultivated forms which are hybrids with plum include Opata and Sapa in the USA and Desertnaia dal’nevostochnaia, Novinka, and Iuta in the USSR.

Nanking or Manchu cherry (C. tomentosa) is a small shrub 1 to 2.5 m tall with numerous thin branches covered with gray feltlike fuzz. It is frost-resistant, has a high yield, and bears fruit early. It grows wild in Central Asia and is cultivated in the USSR (Far East), China, and Japan. The mahaleb cherry (C. mahaleb), a shrub or tree, is 10 to 13 m high with a crown thickly covered with leaves. It is encountered in shrub thickets on open, rocky slopes in the western and southern parts of the Ukraine, Moldavia, Middle Asia, and the Caucasus. It is used as stock for cherry trees and geans. Ornamental forms of cherry are also raised; they have double flowers of white, rose, red, and other colors. Some of these ornamental species are C. sachalinensis, a tree up to 15 m tall; C. serrulata, a tree up to 7 m tall; C. maximowiczii, a tree 6 to 7 m tall; C. glandulosa, a shrub up to 1.5 m tall; C. humilis, a shrub 0.5 to 1.5 m tall; and C. campanulata, a shrub with dark-violet flowers. Approximately 100 varieties of cherry are grown in the USSR.

Cherry trees are propagated by seeds (stones), root shoots, and stock grafting. The seed method of propagation is used in selection for new varieties. Many local varieties are propa-gated by root shoots; these include Vladimir, Rastun’ia, and Shubinka. Grafted trees bear fruit earlier than those grown from offshoots, but the latter are longer-lived. The best places for planting cherry trees are the southern slopes in northern and northwestern regions and the western and southwestern slopes in regions of the central belt of the USSR. The best soils for growing cherry trees are loamy and rich in nutrients. Before planting, the soil is worked deeply and fertilized (40-60 tons of manure per hectare, up to 90-120 kg of active substances of phosphorus and potassium, and, for podzol soils, 2 to 6 tons of lime per hectare). Hardy varieties of cherry are planted with a distance of 6 m between rows and 4 to 5 m between plants within the row; medium hardy plants require 5 m between rows and 3-4 m between plants; and nonhardy plants, 4 m between rows and 2-4 m between plants. In regions of the central and northern bands of the USSR, planting is done in the spring. Self-sterile varieties are planted together with pollinator varieties. The crown is formed by the layer-cut system with a small trunk. Each year the weak branches within the crown and those which have stopped growing are removed. The soil between rows is kept under autumn fallow with a summer sowing of green manure crops. Right after planting and at two- to three-year intervals, up to 30 tons of manure per hectare is applied, and there are yearly applications of mineral fertilizers. Pests include the pear slug sawfly, plum sawfly, cherry weevil, cherry shoot moth, cherry fruit fly, and cherry blackfly; among cherry diseases are brown rot fungus, clasterosporiosis, coccomycosis of stone fruit crops, cytosporosis, and verticilliosis.


Ven’iaminov, A. N. Vishnia i sliva. Moscow, 1955.
Teterev, F. K. Vishnia i chereshnia. Leningrad, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a cherry?

Cherries can have a wide range of meanings in our society. Traditionally, because of the story of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, this fruit is associated with truthfulness. As in song, life may be a bowl of cherries, signifying sweetness and good fortune. Also, vehicles in particular are described in terms of fruit: one in good condition is called a “cherry”; a bad one, a “lemon.”

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


Any trees or shrub of the genus Prunus in the order Rosales.
The simple, fleshy, edible drupe or stone fruit of the plant.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


An even-textured, moderately high-density wood of the eastern US, rich red-brown in color; takes a high luster; used for cabinetwork and paneling.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. any of several trees of the rosaceous genus Prunus, such as P. avium (sweet cherry), having a small fleshy rounded fruit containing a hard stone
2. the fruit or wood of any of these trees
3. any of various unrelated plants, such as the ground cherry and Jerusalem cherry
4. of or relating to the cherry fruit or wood
a. a bright red colour; cerise
b. (as adjective): a cherry coat
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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