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What are the Different Types of Cherry Trees?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cherry trees come in quite an array of colors and sizes. Many gardeners divide cherries into flowering or ornamental varieties, and varieties which produce edible fruit. Both have been cultivated for thousands of years, resulting in a number of very refined cherry cultivars, some of which are highly treasured. Regions like Japan are especially famous for their flowering cherries, while the fruiting cherries of regions like Washington State are also well known in some culinary circles.

Flowering or ornamental cherry trees produce flowers, but no fruit. Some examples of flowering cherries include weeping cherries, Okame, Autumn cherries, Kwanzan cherries, and Yoshino cherries. These trees produce flowers in shades of white to pink, and some have very distinctive foliage, as well. The Autumn cherry blooms twice a year, in spring and in autumn, making it a particularly welcome addition to some gardens. One of the largest collections of flowering cherry trees outside of Japan is in Washington, DC on the National Mall.

Fruit-producing trees can be broken into sweet cherries, also known as wild cherries, and sour cherries. Sweet cherries, as one might imagine, produce fruit which is naturally sweet, while the fruit of sour cherries has a sour note. Eating cherries are usually sweet, while sour cherries are used for canning, pieces, preserves, and other applications in which sugar can be added to temper the sour note of the fruit.

Early Richmond, Rainier, Amur Chokecherry, Bing, Van, Sweetheart, Queen Anne, Stella, and Black Cherries are all some examples of cherry trees which produce edible fruit. In addition to fruiting in the summer to early fall, these trees also produce beautiful flowers in the spring. Some people like to grow fruiting cherries in their gardens so that they can enjoy the blossoms and the fruit, while others prefer to use flowering cherries, to avoid messy accumulations of fruit and pits.

Many garden stores carry cherry seedlings for their customers, and they can order special varieties for people by request. Different cherries thrive in slightly different climates, so it is important to find cherry trees which will safely grow in one's climate zone. A good way to find safe cultivars is to poke around the neighborhood to see if anyone else is growing cherries, and to see how well their trees are doing. If the cherry trees are thriving, the gardener will usually be happy to provide information about the varietal he or she is growing.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon345590 — On Aug 20, 2013

Is there any cherry variety that produce fruits in fall?

By anon97674 — On Jul 20, 2010

Are all cherries edible?

By dill1971 — On Jul 02, 2010

@cmsmith10: I can't say that I have ever had a cherry stain on my concrete, but I have had plenty of others! A pressure washer works really well at removing most stains off of concrete but I know that most people don't just have a pressure washer sitting around the house. One method that works is to use TSP (trisodium phosphate). You can buy it at most hardware stores. It comes as a powder and can be mixed with bleach to remove stains. I'm not sure on the ratio so you would need to ask someone that works there.

Another thing that works well is a simple homemade concrete cleaner. Mix some oxygen bleach (according to the directions) with some hot water. Once the solution is ready, pour it into a sprayer and start spraying the stain thoroughly. Don't be stingy with it. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and the oxygen bleach will work wonders. I'll bet it will work on your cherries! Good Luck!

By dega2010 — On Jul 01, 2010

We moved into a home and had a beautiful tree in our yard but were unsure what it was. It had beautiful purple flowers. During its flowering season, the flowers changed from a deep purple to a light shade of pink. After much investigation, we found out that we had a purple leaved plum tree. Contrary to the name, it isn’t a plum but rather a cherry. The downfall is that it does seem to attract every bee and bug in the neighborhood. It hasn’t yet produced our fruit but I look forward to it!

By cmsmith10 — On Jul 01, 2010

We wanted cherry trees in our yard and a friend recommended black cherries. It is the tallest tree available and the white flowers produced are breathtaking. The cherry is small and black and ready in the summer. The only problem that we have had is that we planted it close to our driveway and the cherries tend to fall off and stain the concrete. I would definitely recommend keeping them in the yard where there is grass all around! Does anyone have any tips on how to get those type of stains off of my concrete?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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