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  • Jovita Turan

A Brief Summary of Sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L.)

by Jovita Turan, September 2, 2020

Sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) also known as a tart, dwarf, or wild cherry belongs to Rosaceae family. It is considered that sour cherry species is native to Europe and it is as old as Western civilization. Their seeds have been found in different parts of Europe dating back to Greek and Roman civilizations. There is another opinion that cherry is originating from the east, in Asia Minor.

It is believed that Prunus cerasus L. is originated from crosses between Prunus avium L. (sweet cherry) and Prunus fruticose Pall. In our days, sour cherry, as a rootstock, was used in the development of commercial cultivars of sweet cherry to create dwarf and resistant plants. The two main varieties of sour cherry are the dark-red Morello cherry and the lighter-red Amarelle cherry.

Origin of sour cherry

Prunus cerasus plants are small trees with straight or scattered branches. Trees are bearing ovate green leaves and white flowers. Fruits of sour cherry are sour and sweetish in taste, small, rounded in shape, and light red to nearly black in color.

Sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L.)

It is recommended to grow sour cherries in rich, well-drained but moist soil as they need more water and nitrogen compared to sweet cherry. The main maintenance works such as pruning, weeding, mulching, and fertilizing should be done in the springtime. In the summertime, fruits should be protected from birds with netting.

Basics of fruit tree pruning
An example of fruit protection against birds with netting

Sour cherry is considered to be one of the healthiest edible berries due to high levels of polyphenols (anthocyanins and other flavonoids), alkaloid, and melatonin that is associated with sleep-promoting properties.

Phytochemicals found in sour cherry helps to reduce symptoms associated with gout, improves sleep quality, reduce oxidative stress, have an anti-inflammatory property in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. It was reported that phytochemicals of sour cherry offer protection against colon cancer, protect against type-II diabetes by increasing insulin excretion. Sour cherry juice was reported as reducing blood pressure and improving blood lipid profiles as well as it helps to reduce body weight.

Sour cherry fruits

Studies showed that the anti-inflammatory properties of sour cherry are at the same level as many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Mainly, anthocyanin content in sour cherry is responsible for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Total anthocyanin content differs according to the variety.

Sour cherry jam

Sour cherry production is focused on processing into products such as jams, frozen fruits, fruit juice, nectars (fruit juice drinks), sauces, syrups, jelly, candy, pastilles, powders.


  • Aghbashlo, M., Kianmehr, M. H., & HASSAN‐BEYGI, S. R. (2010). Drying and rehydration characteristics of sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L.). Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, 34(3), 351-365.

  • Damar, İ., & Ekşi, A. (2012). Antioxidant capacity and anthocyanin profile of sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) juice. Food chemistry, 135(4), 2910-2914.

  • Dondini, L., Lugli, S., & Sansavini, S. (2018). Cherry breeding: sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) and sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L.). In Advances in Plant Breeding Strategies: Fruits (pp. 31-88). Springer, Cham.

  • Ganopoulos, I., Moysiadis, T., Xanthopoulou, A., Osathanunkul, M., Madesis, P., Zambounis, A., ... & Chatzicharisis, I. (2016). Morpho-physiological diversity in the collection of sour cherry (Prunus cerasus) cultivars of the Fruit Genebank in Naoussa, Greece using multivariate analysis. Scientia Horticulturae, 207, 225-232.

  • Howatson, G., Bell, P. G., Tallent, J., Middleton, B., McHugh, M. P., & Ellis, J. (2012). Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. European journal of nutrition, 51(8), 909-916.

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  • Shamsi, S. (2017). A review on sour cherry (Prunus cerasus): A high value Unani medicinal fruit. International Journal of Green Pharmacy (IJGP), 11(01).

  • Tavaud, M., Zanetto, A., David, J. L., Laigret, F., & Dirlewanger, E. (2004). Genetic relationships between diploid and allotetraploid cherry species (Prunus avium, Prunus× gondouinii and Prunus cerasus). Heredity, 93(6), 631-638.

  • Toydemir, G., Capanoglu, E., Roldan, M. V. G., de Vos, R. C., Boyacioglu, D., Hall, R. D., & Beekwilder, J. (2013). Industrial processing effects on phenolic compounds in sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) fruit. Food research international, 53(1), 218-225.

  • Access Date: 01.09.2020

  • Access Date: 01.09.2020


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