Name: Sour Cherry
Scientific name: Prunus cerasus
Flowering period: March
The sour cherry tree is native to Europe and southwest Asia. It is similar to the cherry, but its fruit is more acidic, and the tree is smaller, growing to a height of 4 to 10 meters. The bark of the tree is reddish-brown and shiny, with peeling horizontal strips. The branches spread upwards and have smooth twigs. Its dark red fruits, the sour cherries, bear smaller stalks. There are two main varieties of sour cherry: the dark red Morello cherry and the lighter red Amarelle cherry. The trees prefer rich, well-drained and moist soil. The fruits suffer less from pests and diseases than sweet cherries, although they are susceptible to birds.
Usage & History:
The sour cherry fruits are used in confectionery, often dried. Dried sour cherries are considered a superfood, while sour cherry syrup is used in liqueurs and drinks. In Iran, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, sour cherries are especially valuable for the production of spoon sweets, by boiling the fruits and adding sugar.
The "sour cherries", selected from wild specimens of the plant from the Caspian and Black Seas, were known to the Greeks from 300 BC. They were also extremely popular within the Persians and Romans, who introduced them to Britain before the 1st century AD. Sour cherries remain quite popular in Iran and England, where their cultivation was popularized in the 16th century, during the time of Henry VIII.