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Sour Cherry

Prunus cerasus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
8 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, roadsides, scrub, woodland.

White, 5 petals
White flowers, sometimes pink. Up to 18mm wide. The petals are scarcely notched. The flowers appear in clusters of 2 to 6. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is a cherry (Morello cherry). It is stalked. The colour of the fruit is variable, from dark red (most common) to black. Sour Cherry is in fruit in June and July.
Glossy, ovate, dark green, pointed leaves with toothed margins. Sometimes the leaves are glossy beneath. The bark is reddish brown and shiny.
Sour Cherry is fragrant.
Other Names:
Amarelle Cherry, Dwarf Cherry, Morello Cherry, Tart Cherry.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Prunus cerasus, also known as sour cherry or tart cherry, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family. It is native to Europe and Asia and is widely cultivated for its edible fruit. The plant is known for its small, white flowers and dark, glossy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including gardens, orchards, and along roadsides. Prunus cerasus is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 10 meters in height. It is commonly cultivated for its edible fruit, which are small and tart in flavor. The tree is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Sour Cherries: The Tangy Delight of Prunus cerasus

Sour cherries, also known as tart cherries, are a delicious and versatile fruit that belong to the Prunus cerasus species. They are small and round with a bright red skin, and have a sour, tangy flavor that makes them a popular ingredient in many culinary creations.

Health Benefits of Sour Cherries

In addition to their delicious taste, sour cherries are also packed with a variety of important nutrients and health benefits. They are a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. They also contain vitamins A and C, which help support a healthy immune system and improve skin health.

Sour cherries are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that the anthocyanins and other phytochemicals found in sour cherries can help reduce inflammation in the body, which can help alleviate symptoms of conditions like arthritis and gout.

Culinary Uses for Sour Cherries

Sour cherries are often used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. They are popular in baked goods like pies and tarts, and can also be used to make sauces and syrups. They are often paired with ingredients like sugar, honey, or vanilla to help balance out their tart flavor.

Sour cherries can also be used in savory dishes, such as roasted meats and vegetables. They add a unique tanginess to these dishes, and can help cut through the richness of the meat.

Sour cherries are also a popular ingredient in cocktails and mocktails. Their tart flavor makes them a popular choice for mixed drinks, and they can be used to make syrups, purees, and other mix-ins.

Sour cherries are a delicious and nutritious fruit that offer a variety of health benefits and culinary uses. Whether you enjoy them in a sweet treat or a savory dish, sour cherries are sure to add a tangy twist to any meal.

Harvest and Availability

Sour cherries are typically harvested in late spring to early summer, with peak season lasting from late May to early July. They have a relatively short season compared to other fruit, so it is important to enjoy them while they are in season.

Sour cherries are often sold fresh in farmers markets and grocery stores, and can also be found canned, frozen, or dried. Fresh sour cherries have a short shelf life, so it is best to use them as soon as possible. Canned and frozen sour cherries can be stored for a longer period of time, making them a great option for year-round use.

Growing Your Own Sour Cherries

If you have the space, growing your own sour cherries can be a fun and rewarding experience. Sour cherry trees are hardy and relatively easy to grow, and can be planted in most temperate climates. They prefer well-drained soil and full sun, and can grow up to 20 feet tall.

When choosing a sour cherry tree it is important to consider the size of the tree, as well as its chill hour requirements. Chill hours refer to the number of hours below a certain temperature that a tree needs in order to produce fruit. Sour cherry trees typically need between 600-800 chill hours, so make sure to choose a variety that is suitable for your climate.

In addition to choosing the right variety, proper care and maintenance are also important for growing a healthy sour cherry tree. This includes regular watering, pruning, and fertilization. It is also important to protect the tree from pests and diseases, such as cherry fruit fly, powdery mildew, and fire blight.


Sour cherries are a versatile and delicious fruit that offer a variety of health benefits and culinary uses. Whether you choose to enjoy them fresh, canned, or frozen, or grow your own tree, sour cherries are sure to add a tangy twist to any meal.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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