Types of Cherry Trees

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Types of Cherry Trees
The Yoshino cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan. (cherry tree image by Lovrencg from Fotolia.com)

The hardy cherry tree varies widely in type, colour, flower and fruit. Some types contain no fruit at all, and are commonly used for ornamental purposes. The three main types of cherry trees are sweet, sour and ornamental. Sweet cherry trees produce fruit that can be eaten from the tree. Sour cherry trees contain tart cherries ideal for canning and pie-making. Ornamental cherry trees are known for their strong fragrance and colourful flowers.

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Sweet Cherry Trees

Sweet cherry trees grow in a variety of climates, as long as they receive plenty of sun and moisture. The fruit is typically sweet and juicy, ranging in colour from pale yellow and red to dark purple. It's ideal for picking and eating fresh from the tree, or for making jam. Sweet cherry tree flowers range from white and light pink to green and deep purple, depending on the variety. Some common varieties of sweet cherry trees include the rainier, bing and Queen Anne.

Sour Cherry Trees

Sour cherry trees grow in a wide variety of climates, and produce tart light-pink to dark-red fruit. The fruit is often used for canning and baking, but some people enjoy the cherries fresh from the tree. The flowers are commonly white. A few common varieties of sour cherry trees include the Montmorency and morello.

Ornamental Cherry Trees

Ornamental cherry trees produce colourful, usually aromatic flowers without fruit. These trees grow in a variety of climates and conditions. The flowers range in colour from white to dark pink, and after they bloom the foliage turns green. Ornamental cherry trees range in size from a few feet to up to 50 feet, making them ideal for landscaping. Well-known varieties include the snow fountain, Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees.

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