sour cherry

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sour cherry
Sour cherry (Prunus cerasus), illustration

Sour cherry ( Prunus cerasus ), illustration

Order : Rose-like (rosales)
Family : Rose family (Rosaceae)
Subfamily : Spiraeoideae
Tribe : Stone fruit family (Amygdaleae)
Genre : Prunus
Type : sour cherry
Scientific name
Prunus cerasus

The sour cherry or sour cherry ( Prunus cerasus ), in Old Bavaria , Austria and Switzerland often short Vistula called, is a plant from the family of the rose family ( Rosaceae ). It is used as a fruit tree .


The sour cherry can grow as a bush, shrub or tree and can reach heights of 1 to 10 meters. As a tree, it has a loose, rounded crown. Its branches are protruding and often hang over. The bark is reddish brown, shiny and has large lenticels . Later a ring-bark develops. Young branches are thin and bare. The long shoots have an end bud. Short shoots emerge at the ends of the long shoots. The leaves are 5 to 12 cm long, 4 to 6 cm wide, elliptical-egg-shaped and mostly pointed; their surface is shiny and somewhat leathery. The underside only has weak hairs on the nerves, the leaf margin is fine and often double-serrated. In the bud position the leaves are folded. The petiole is 1–3 cm long and may have glands.

The blossoms of the sour cherry are arranged in two to four in sitting umbels . The bud scales remain on the umbels until they have faded. The inner bud scales are erect. There are a few small leaves at the base of the umbels. The flowers appear at the same time as the leaves. The flower stalk is 2–4 cm long, glabrous and protruding. The flowers are 2–2.5 cm in diameter. The flower cup is wide, bell-shaped and bare. The sepals are glabrous, brownish and usually finely serrated. The petals are white, 10-13 mm long, entire and almost circular. The approximately 20 yellow stamens are a bit shorter than the petals.

The stone fruit of the sour cherry has a diameter of 15 to 20 mm and is more or less spherical, slightly higher than wide, glabrous, unripened and light to black red. The flesh has a sour taste and is either red or undyed. The stone core is up to 10 mm long, spherical to ovoid, blunt and smooth.

They bloom from April to May.

The number of chromosomes in the sour cherry is 2n = 32.


A small sour cherry tree in Karaj , Iran

The sour cherry is cultivated as a fruit tree in almost the entire northern hemisphere . In the north it is grown in Finland up to the 63rd parallel and in Norway up to the 68th parallel . In the Southern Alps it can be found at altitudes of 1600 meters, in the Central Alps up to 1800 meters. The species often goes wild, but so far no real wild occurrences are known. It grows preferentially on loose, light, nutrient and base-rich, sandy loam soils. It can be found overgrown in hedges (especially in sloe-privet bushes) and vineyards, more rarely in light oak forests.


The sour cherry was first described by Linné in 1753 as Prunus cerasus . Synonyms are Cerasus vulgaris Miller , Cerasus acida (Ehrh.) Borkh. , Druparia cerasus (L.) Clairv. , Cerasus caproniana (L.) Ser. ex DC. , Prunus caproniana (L.) Gaudin and Prunus recta K. Koch .

A distinction has been made between two subspecies of the sour cherry (at least since the 17th century) :

  • The tree sour cherry ( Prunus cerasus subsp. Cerasus ) is a tree with upright branches. The leaves are vivid green and oval. The stone cores are rounded.
The cultivated varieties of this subspecies can be divided into two varieties:
  • Glass cherry, water cherry, amarelle ( Prunus cerasus var. Cerasus ): The flower stalks are short and usually twice to three times as long as the flower cup. The fruits are light red, glassy and sour. The juice is not colored. The stone core does not come off the handle.
  • Sweet softsel, Morelle ( Prunus cerasus var. Austera L. ): The flower stalks are long. The fruit is red and sweet and sour. The juice is colored. The stone core comes off the handle easily.
  • The shrub sour cherry or morello cherries ( Prunus cerasus subsp. Acida (Ehrh.) Schübl. & G. Martens ) is a shrub or a small tree. The branches are overhanging and root runners are formed. The leaves are dark green and oblong to obovate. The fruits are dark red, sour and have a colored juice. The stone cores are egg-shaped. acida is derived from the Latin acidus, which means sour.

It is believed that the sour cherry emerged from crosses of bird cherry ( Prunus avium ) and steppe cherry ( Prunus fruticosa ).


There are numerous types of sour cherries (selection):

  • Glass cherries
    • 'Diemitzer Amarelle', the earliest sour cherry
    • 'Gr. Gobet '(Synonym:' Large glass cherry from Montmorency ')
    • 'Royal Amarelle'
    • 'Ludwigs Früh', a very adaptable variety
    • 'Werdersche Glass Cherry'
  • Sweet pudding
    • 'Köröser', a variety mainly grown in Austria (synonym: 'Hungarian Vistula')
    • 'Rote Maikirsche', an old central German garden variety (synonym: 'Maiammer')
    • 'Red Muscat'
    • 'Sweet early twilight'
  • Morello cherries
    • 'Beutelspacher Rexelle', a variety that ripens relatively early
    • 'Heimanns Rubin', a variety with large fruits (synonym: 'Fanal')
    • 'Kelleriis 14', a further cultivation of the cultivar 'Schattenmorelle'
    • 'Canned Vistula', a variety suitable for warm locations
    • 'Morellenfeuer', a popular garden variety (synonym: 'Kelleriis 16')
    • 'Ostheimer Weichsel', an undemanding variety with small, aromatic fruits (synonym: 'Preßsauerkirsche')
    • 'Scharo', a very instinctive variety
    • ' Schattenmorelle ', the most important variety (synonyms: 'Gr. Lange Lotkirsche', 'Nordkirsche', 'Schwarze Kirsche von Montreux', 'Späte Morelle')

The variety ' Maraschka ' is probably also assigned to the group of morello cherries . It is a sweet must cherry with bitter-sour fruits.

For other varieties, see the list of cherry varieties

Cultivation in Germany

In Germany , the commercial cultivation of sour cherries is concentrated in the three federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate , Saxony and Thuringia . According to the estimates of the Federal Statistical Office , a good 18,000 tons of sour cherries were harvested in 2011. The front runner, Rhineland-Palatinate, has 5,550 tons. It is followed by Saxony with 4,857 tons and Thuringia with 2,327 tons. In the beekeeping sour cherries are due to the sugar content of their nectar (from 9.7 to 15%) and its high sugar value (up to 1.31 mg of sugar per day per flower) an estimated costume plant .

Health benefits

In ancient times, cherries were considered useful for disorders of the intestinal function.

Sour cherries contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E as well as significant amounts of potassium and folic acid. In addition, tart cherries are a rich source of anthocyanins 1 and 2. These red-purple plant pigments can help to inhibit the enzymes cyclo-oxygenase 1 and 2 in our body, which are associated with the occurrence of inflammation and pain. In addition, tart cherries are said to be able to lower the level of uric acid in the body by increasing excretion. As a result, and thanks to the anti-inflammatory effect, sour cherries can be used in gout therapy and in hyperuricemia. Tart cherries have also been shown to be effective against arthritis and other inflammation-related diseases. In general, the anti-inflammatory potential of tart cherries seems to have a positive benefit in combating vascular diseases. Particularly in the case of the so-called metabolic syndrome and thus in abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, lipid metabolism disorders and type 2 diabetes mellitus, promising results were achieved. Further studies indicate that tart cherries have a generally high potential for reducing oxidative stress.

Furthermore, sour cherries are one of the few sources of natural melatonin. Melatonin is produced in the human body in the pineal gland and regulates the sleep-wake rhythm. A deficiency can accordingly lead to sleep disorders. Sour cherries can contain up to 13.5 ng of melatonin per gram. Especially the Montmorency variety is characterized by z. B. compared to the Balaton variety by about six times the melatonin content. As a result, sour cherries are said to have a positive effect on sleep disorders.

Sour cherry juice, when consumed regularly, can reduce muscle soreness and muscle fatigue caused by unusual physical activity and help to avoid stress-induced inflammation in the respiratory tract. In addition, sour cherries seem to have a positive influence on bone density and thus on osteoporosis prevention. In the context of stroke prevention studies, promising results were obtained in connection with sour cherries and the anthocyanins they contain. In two independent studies, the combined use of tart cherries and essential fatty acids or extracted tart cherry anthocyanins (cyanidin-3-O-glucoside) achieved positive results in relation to Alzheimer's disease and a general neuroprotective effect.

Diseases and pests

The following diseases and pests can cause economic damage to sour cherries:

supporting documents

  • Hildemar Scholz, Ilse Scholz: Prunus. In: Hans. J. Conert et al. (Ed.): Gustav Hegi. Illustrated flora of Central Europe. Volume 4 Part 2B: Spermatophyta: Angiospermae: Dicotyledones 2 (3). Rosaceae 2. Blackwell 1995, ISBN 3-8263-2533-8 .
  • Tart cherry juice decreases oxidative stress in healthy older men and women. In: J Nutr. 139 (10), 2009 Oct, pp. 1896-1900. doi: 10.3945 / jn.109.111716 . Epub Aug 19, 2009
  • Combinatorial treatment of tart cherry extract and essential fatty acids reduces cognitive impairments and inflammation in the mu-p75 saporin-induced mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. In: Journal of Medicinal Food. 16 (4), Apr 2013, pp. 288-295. doi: 10.1089 / jmf.2012.0131 . (English)
  • Neuroprotective effect of cyanidin-3-O-glucoside anthocyanin in mice with focal cerebral ischemia. In: Neuroscience Letters. 500 (3), Aug 18, 2011, pp. 157-161. doi: 10.1016 / j.neulet.2011.05.048 . Epub 2011 May 27. (English)
  • Regular tart cherry intake age abdominal adiposity, adipose gene transcription, and inflammation in obesity-prone rats fed a high fat diet. In: Journal of Medicinal Food. 12 (5), Oct 2009, pp. 935-942. doi: 10.1089 / jmf.2008.0270 . (English)
  • Altered hyperlipidemia, hepatic steatosis, and hepatic peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors in rats with intake of tart cherry. In: Journal of Medicinal Food. 11 (2), June 2008, pp. 252-259. doi: 10.1089 / jmf.2007.658 . (English)
  • PG Bell, IH Walshe, GW Davison, EJ Stevenson, G. Howatson: Recovery facilitation with Montmorency cherries following high-intensity, metabolically challenging exercise. In: Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 40 (4), Apr 2015, pp. 414-423. doi: 10.1139 / apnm-2014-0244 . PMID 25794236 (English)

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Hildemar Scholz, Ilse Scholz: Prunus. In: Hans. J. Conert et al. (Ed.): Gustav Hegi . Illustrated flora of Central Europe. Volume 4 Part 2B: Spermatophyta: Angiospermae: Dicotyledones 2 (3). Rosaceae 2. Blackwell 1995, ISBN 3-8263-2533-8 .
  2. Adam Lonitzer : Kreuterbuch. Artificial conterfeytunge of trees, shrubs, hedges, herbs, grain, Gewuertze [...]. Edited by Peter Uffenbach, (Frankfurt am Maion 1557, further edition there 1630; last edition Augsburg 1783) Ulm an der Donau 1679; Reprint (Leipzig 1934 and by) Konrad Kölbl, (Grünwald near) Munich 1962, p. 52.
  3. Statistics of the sweet cherry harvest 2011 , estimate by the Federal Statistical Office
  4. Helmut Horn, Cord Lüllmann: The great honey book. 3. Edition. Kosmos, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-440-10838-4 , p. 30f.
  5. C. Plinii Secundi Naturalis historia. Edited by D. Detlefsen , Berlin 1866–1882, IV, p. 29 (XXIII, 141: “Cerasia alvum molliunt, stomacho inutilia, eadem siccata alvum sistunt, urinam cient […]”).
  6. Petrus Uffenbach (Ed.): Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbaei Kraeuterbuch… (translated into German by Johannes Danzius), Frankfurt am Main (at Johann Bringern) 1610, p. 73 (“The cherry tree heyst […] in Latin Cerasus, but the fruit Cerasum. The cherries are good for the stomach, because they soften the stool when they are fresh ”).
  7. Phillip G. Bell, David C. Gaze, Gareth W. Davison, Trevor W. George, Michael J. Scotter: Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate lowers uric acid, independent of plasma cyanidin-3-O-glucosiderutinoside . In: Journal of Functional Foods . tape 11 , November 1, 2014, p. 82–90 , doi : 10.1016 / j.jff.2014.09.004 ( [accessed April 21, 2017]).
  8. ^ A b Phillip G. Bell, Ian H. Walshe, Gareth W. Davison, Emma Stevenson, Glyn Howatson: Montmorency Cherries Reduce the Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Responses to Repeated Days High-Intensity Stochastic Cycling . In: Nutrients . tape 6 , no. 2 , February 21, 2014, p. 829-843 , doi : 10.3390 / nu6020829 , PMID 24566440 , PMC 3942735 (free full text).
  9. Tinna Traustadóttir, Sean S. Davies, Anthoney A. Stock, Yali Su, Christopher B. Heward: Tart Cherry Juice Decreases Oxidative Stress in Healthy Older Men and Women . In: The Journal of Nutrition . tape 139 , no. 10 , October 1, 2009, ISSN  0022-3166 , p. 1896–1900 , doi : 10.3945 / jn.109.111716 , PMID 19692530 , PMC 3151016 (free full text).
  10. Glyn Howatson, Phillip G. Bell, Jamie Tallent, Benita Middleton, Malachy P. McHugh: Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality . In: European Journal of Nutrition . tape 51 , no. 8 , December 1, 2012, ISSN  1436-6215 , p. 909-916 , doi : 10.1007 / s00394-011-0263-7 , PMID 22038497 .
  11. Yu Zhao, Dun-Xian Tan, Qiong Lei, Hao Chen, Lin Wang: Melatonin and its potential biological functions in the fruits of sweet cherry . In: Journal of Pineal Research . tape 55 , no. 1 , August 1, 2013, ISSN  1600-079X , p. 79-88 , doi : 10.1111 / jpi.12044 , PMID 23480341 .
  12. ^ S. Burkhardt, DX Tan, LC Manchester, R. Hardeland, RJ Reiter: Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus) . In: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry . tape 49 , no. 10 , October 1, 2001, ISSN  0021-8561 , p. 4898-4902 , PMID 11600041 .
  13. Joanna L. Bowtell, David Paul Sumners, Amy Dyer, Patrick Fox, Katya N. Mileva: Montmorency cherry juice reduces muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise . In: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise . tape 43 , no. 8 , August 1, 2011, ISSN  1530-0315 , p. 1544-1551 , doi : 10.1249 / MSS.0b013e31820e5adc , PMID 21233776 .
  14. Jessica J. Matchynski, Steven A. Lowrance, Colleen Pappas, Julien Rossignol, Nicole Puckett: Combinatorial Treatment of Tart Cherry Extract and Essential Fatty Acids Reduces Cognitive Impairments and Inflammation in the mu-p75 Saporin-Induced Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease . In: Journal of Medicinal Food . tape 16 , no. 4 , April 1, 2013, ISSN  1096-620X , p. 288-295 , doi : 10.1089 / jmf.2012.0131 .
  15. Jiangyong Min, Seong-Woon Yu, Seung-Hoon Baek, Kavitha M. Nair, Ok-Nam Bae: Neuroprotective effect of cyanidin-3-O-glucoside anthocyanin in mice with focal cerebral ischemia . In: Neuroscience Letters . tape 500 , no. 3 , August 18, 2011, p. 157–161 , doi : 10.1016 / j.neulet.2011.05.048 .

Web links

Commons : Sauer-Cherry  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Sour cherry  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations