Exploring the Diversity: Most Cherry Tree Varieties


Exploring the Diversity: Most Cherry Tree Varieties

Most Cherry Tree Varieties

Cherry trees are not only beloved for their beautiful blossoms but also for the delicious fruit they produce. With numerous varieties available, each with its own unique characteristics, exploring the diversity of cherry tree varieties is both fascinating and rewarding. In this guide, we’ll delve into some of the most popular cherry tree varieties, highlighting their features and uses.

Cherries are related to plums, apricots, peaches, and almonds. There are a vast number of cherry tree varieties. The small, round fruit of these trees vary from dark, burgundy red to creamy pale yellow.

Cherry trees are divided into two main groups. Both groups originated in Asia. The taste of the cherries they produce divides these two groups.

The first is referred to as sweet or dessert cherries. They are descendants of the species P. avium. The second is referred to as sour or culinary cherries. They are the offspring of the species P. cerasus. There is a third group called duke cherries that fall somewhere in the middle. Sweet cherries are further divided into black and white cherries varieties.

Black Tartarian Cherry Tree (Prunus avium ‘Black Tartarian’)

Black Tartarian cherries are prized for their deep purple to almost black skin and sweet, rich flavor. They are one of the oldest cherry varieties cultivated in the United States and remain popular for their exceptional taste. Black Tartarian cherry trees are vigorous growers and produce abundant crops of large, flavorful fruit. These cherries are best enjoyed fresh but can also be used in jams, jellies, and desserts.

Bing Cherry Tree (Prunus avium ‘Bing’)

Bing cherries are among the most well-known and widely cultivated cherry varieties. They are prized for their large, dark red fruit with sweet, juicy flesh. Bing cherry trees are prolific producers and thrive in regions with mild winters and moderate summers. These cherries are excellent for fresh eating and are often used in desserts, jams, and preserves.

Sweet cherries are grown primarily for eating fresh. The most common is the Bing cherry. Bing cherries are dark, firm, and juicy. They are quite large and very sweet. Bing cherries are considered the standard cherry against which other cherries are compared.

Stella Cherry Tree (Prunus avium ‘Stella’)

Stella cherries are self-pollinating and known for their early ripening, making them a popular choice for home gardeners. The fruit is dark red to almost black when fully ripe, with a sweet and flavorful taste. Stella cherry trees are relatively compact, making them suitable for small spaces or container gardening. These cherries are excellent for fresh eating and can also be used in baking and cooking.

Genus Prunus
Species Prunus avium
Hybrid parentage Stella × Beaulieu
Cultivar Chelan
Origin Prosser, WA


Chelan cherries ripen earlier than Bing. They are firm and heart-shaped fruit. They are similar to Bing cherries in appearance. They are dark red and very sweet tasting.

Tieton cherries are extremely large in size. They are firm with a mildly sweet flavor. They ripen early and produce beautiful, shiny fruit.

Rainier Cherry Tree (Prunus avium ‘Rainier’)

Rainier cherries are renowned for their distinctive yellow skin with a bright red blush. The flesh is creamy-yellow, tender, and exceptionally sweet with a hint of tartness. Rainier cherry trees require a similar climate to Bing cherries but are typically more delicate and sensitive to weather conditions. These cherries are prized for their unique flavor and are often enjoyed fresh or used in gourmet dishes.

Genus Prunus
Species Prunus avium
Cultivar ‘Rainier’
Breeder Harold Fogle
Origin Washington State University, in 1952


Rainer cherries are yellow with a bright red hue. They are easily recognizable with distinctive characteristics. They have an exceptionally sweet, bright yellow flesh with a delicate flavor. They ripen shortly after Bing.

Lapins are a large, dark red cherry. They are sturdy and crack-resistant. They ripen late in the season, well after Bing.

Skeena Cherry

Genus Prunus
Species Prunus avium
Hybrid parentage 2N-60-7 × 2N-38-22
Cultivar Skeena
Origin Summerland, British ColumbiaCanada


Skeena is another late-ripening cherry. The fruit is large, dark, and almost black in color. The flesh is very dense. They are gaining popularity and continue to produce sweet cherries until late summer.

Sweetheart cherries

Genus Prunus
Species Prunus avium
Hybrid parentage Van × Newstar
Cultivar Sweetheart
Breeder David Lane
Origin Summerland, British Columbia, Canada

Sweetheart cherries are large, heart-shaped, and bright red. They have firm flesh and are mildly sweet. They store and ship very well. They ripen in late-season.

Read More: fast growing trees for privacy

Montmorency Cherry Tree (Prunus cerasus ‘Montmorency’)

Montmorency cherries are a tart variety commonly used in pies, preserves, and other culinary applications. They have bright red skin and firm, juicy flesh with a distinctive tangy flavor. Montmorency cherry trees are cold-hardy and adaptable, making them suitable for a wide range of climates. These cherries are prized for their versatility in the kitchen and are also popular for drying and freezing.

Sour cherries are too tart to eat. They are commonly used in preserves and pie filling. Montmorency cherries are a sour variety that is the standard for sour cherries. They ripen mid-summer. They produce a tart, clear juice.

Meteor ripens after Montmorency. They produce medium-sized, clear juiced, firm fruit.

The Northstar variety of cherries ripen after the Montmorency. They produce a medium-sized, dark juiced cherry with burgundy red fruit. They are hardy and will develop a deep color when left to fully ripen on the tree.

Schattenmorelle ripens after Montmorency. They produce large, dark juiced fruit.

English Morello ripens shortly after Montmorency. They produce medium-sized, dark, reddish-black fruit. They are excellent for pies.

Duke Cherries

Duke cherries are a hybridization of both sweet and sour cherries. They fall somewhere in between sweet and sour cherries in fruit characteristics. The most common are Krassa Severa, Royal Duke, and May Duke. Sweet or sour cherries are better choices for cooking and eating fresh.

Cherry Tree Varieties

Factors That Affect Cherry Cultivation

Rainwater or dew being absorbed through the skin of the fruit produces rain cracking. When the fruit becomes saturated, it will crack the skin. This becomes a greater problem if the rain occurs right before the harvest. Cracking will allow brown rot to proliferate within the fruit.

Birds love cherries. Birds prefer dark, sweet cherries over white and sour cherries. In a small orchard, birds can consume almost the entire yield of the fruit. Tree netting is somewhat useful, as well as other bird deterrents. No single tactic has proven to be effective, but even in small orchards, it is possible to prevent the consumption of at least some of the fruit.

Deer eat the young growth and this can result in the tree being stunted. There are commercial and homemade repellents available. It is best to discourage feeding early.

Aphids, fruit flies, mites, borers, and maggots are some insects that will infest cherry trees. Commercially available methods should control these.

Diseases that affect cherry trees are brown rot fungus, mildew, fungal and bacterial cankers, crown and root rot, x-disease, and various viral infections.


The world of cherry tree varieties is vast and diverse, offering a range of flavors, colors, and uses to suit every preference. Whether you’re a home gardener looking to add a cherry tree to your backyard or a commercial grower seeking high-quality fruit, there’s a cherry variety out there for you. Explore the options, experiment with different varieties, and enjoy the bounty of delicious cherries that these trees have to offer.

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