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  • Botany

Sour cherry

The sour cherry is one of the most common fruit trees in French orchards. Its size varies between 5 and 10 m, and it spans between 5 and 6 m.

Prunus cerasus
Prunus cerasus. © Nathan Duckworth, Flickr CC by nc-nd 2.0


The sour cherry (Prunus cerasus) is a member of the Rosaceae family.

Botanical description of the sour cherry

The structure of this tree varies according to its many varieties. The Bigarreaux and Guigne varieties are tall and slender, and the Montmorency variety is small and spreading. Its reddish brown bark is smooth and comes off in circular strips as the tree ages. Its deciduous leaves are oval, dentate, 8 to 12 cm long, and dark green turning yellow and red in the autumn. This species produces magnificent blossom in March-April, with white flowers clustered into small bouquets. Its fruit are fleshy, sweet and rich in vitamin C.

Le cerisier est un arbre fruitier
The sour cherry is a fruit tree. © muufi, Flickr CC by nc sa 2.0


The sour cherry was cultivated in Antiquity in Greece, the Roman empire and Asia Minor (Anatolia, Caucasus) and to a limited extent in China. It currently thrives in many countries.

Growing conditions of the sour cherry

The sour cherry adapts to practically all climates and requires little maintenance and no special watering schedule. It prefers full sunlight, but can also grow in partial shade. It does not tolerate drought, and does not grow particularly well in very humid soils.


The sour cherry is cultivated for its fruit, but other varieties are cultivated for their ornamental qualities, essentially in Japan.

Author: Michel Caron

Sour cherry. © Eddy Chang, Flickr CC by nc-nd 2.0 Sour cherry. © Eddy Chang, Flickr CC by nc-nd 2.0

Sour cherry - 3 Photos



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