Sour Cherry

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Prunus cerasus L. (Cerasus vulgaris Mill.) Family: Rosaceae

COMMON NAME(S): Sour cherry, morello cherry, tart cherry, pie cherry, red cherry


The Greek botanist Theophrastus described the cherry circa 300 BC; although, it is believed to have been cultivated even earlier than this time. In 70 AD, Pliny indicated locations of cherry trees to be in Rome, Germany, England, and France. By the mid 1800s, cherries were being cultivated in Oregon. The first commercial cherry orchard was planted in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, the sour cherry industry was flourishing. As of the late 1900s, 100,000 tons of sour cherries are produced in the US each year.

Botany :-There are about 270 varieties of sour cherries, a handful of which are of commercial importance (eg, Montmorency, Richmond, English morello).The sour cherry tree is smaller than the sweet cherry tree (Prunus avium) and is more tolerant of extreme temperatures.The sour cherry originated in Europe but is widely cultivated in America. The trees may reach about 11.89 m in height, with a trunk diameter of 30 to 45 cm. The bark is a grayish-brown, flowers are white to pale pink, and leaves are ovate with serrated edging.Sour cherry fruits can grow to 20 mm in length and 18 mm in width. They are heart-shaped drupes by nature, with color ranging from light to dark red. This fruit envelops a light brown seed.

Uses of Sour Cherry

A study has been done on the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of sour cherries. Tart cherry's anthocyanins have the potential to inhibit tumor growth, slow cardiovascular disease, and possibly retard the aging process. Tart cherry juice is used to mask the unpleasant taste of some drugs.

Side Effects of Sour Cherry

Little information exists; one document reports the contamination percentages of the mycotoxin, patulin, in sour cherry.


Little information concerning the toxicology of tart cherry was found in recent literature searches. One document reports in an analysis of fruits and vegetables, the contamination percentages of the mycotoxin, patulin, in sour cherry.

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