Prunus cerasus

                               Image from Vidiot at

Prunus cerasus is also known as a sour, pie, or tart cherry. Prunus is the Latin name for plum trees. It comes from Greek "prunos" (plum or cherry). Cerasus is the Latin word for cherry.  So, Prunus cerasus means cherry cherry, real original.

Basic AnatomyImage located at

  The tree itself is medium sized and usually less than 33 feet tall.  It is usually kept less than 15 feet when it is cultivated.  The bark is red to gray-brown with predominant horizontal lenticels and often peels.

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  The leaves of P. cerasus are oval/elliptic in shape.  They generally have less than 8 pairs of veins and the leaves are 2-5 inches long. 


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 Flowers of Prunus cerasus are white and found in clusters of 3-5.  They have 5 petals which are notched or lobed. Many are borne laterally on 1 year old wood.  Flowers appear in mid-spring.  They are the latest blooming of the stone fruits.

    Image from Gerry at Gerry’s Tree and Shrub Nursery

  The fruit is a drupe .5in to 1.25in in diameter.  They are sweet/sour, but not bitter.  The fruit are lower in sugars and higher in organic acid than sweet cherries.  Prunus cerasus requires only 2-3 months for fruit development.  Fruit matures in early to mid summer.

  To learn about a sour cherry's relatives, check out taxonomy!

  Also if at any time you would like to learn about other organisms check out the Multiple organisms link on the side. Cherry clip art