DISTRIBUTION OF CULTIVATED CHERRIES
The cherry is one of the most commonly cultivated of all fruits and the many varieties of its several forms encircle the globe in the North Temperate Zone and are being rapidly disseminated throughout the temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere. For centuries it has been, as we shall see in the history of the species, one of the most valuable fruit- producing trees of Europe and Asia - an inhabitant of nearly every orchard and garden as well as a common roadside tree in temperate climates in both continents. From Europe, as a center of distribution, the cherry has played an important part in the orcharding in temperate regions of other continents. In North America varieties of the cherry are grown from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island on the north, to the Gulf of California, Texas and Florida on the south, yielding fruit in a greater diversity of soils and climates in Canada and the States of the Union than any other tree-fruit.
The Sour Cherry is very cosmopolitan, thriving in many soils; is able to withstand heat, cold and great atmospheric dryness, if the soil contain moisture; and, though it responds to good care, it grows under neglect better than any other tree-fruit. The Sour Cherry, too, is rather less inviting to insects and fungi than most other stone-fruits, being practically immune to the dreaded San Jose scale. On the other hand the Sweet Cherry is very fastidious as to soils, is lacking in hardiness to both heat and cold and is prey to many insects and subject to all the ills to which stone-fruits are heir; it is grown at its best in but few and comparatively limited areas, though these are very widely distributed.
The geographical distribiltion of these [various
other species of..[.a.s.c.]]cherries is most interesting.'
From North America come but five species of cherries but two of which, Prunus besseyi and Prunus pumila, furnish food and these two as yet are but sparingly grown; all five, however, are more or less used as stocks. Greene (2) has described, in addition to the five accepted ones, eleven new species of true cherries from the far west of the type of Prunus emarginata some of which at least have furnished food to the Indians, miners and trappers and may have horticultural possibilities for the desert regions in which they are found either for fruit or as stocks.
From the western portion of the Old World, including all of Europe, northern Africa, Asia Minor, Persia, Turkestan and Afghanistan come 14 species. From this region, though the number of species as compared with East Asia is small, we have all of the cultivated esculent cherries, if possibly Prunus tomentosa be excepted. Though nearly all of the species of this large territory are found - possibly all originated there - in the southeastern part of Europe and the adjoining southwestern part of Asia, yet they seem, with one or two exceptions, to be quite distinct from the species of the eastern half of the Old World - the Himalaya Mountains separating the two regions. It is probable that when west central Asia has been as well explored botanically as the east central part of the continent, many new species will be added to Prunus and its sub-genus Cerasus. It is in the eastern half of the Old World that the cherry flora is richest. More than 100 of the 119 species of Cerasus recognized by Koehne are found in the Himalaya Mountains and the region to the east including Japan and the Kuril Islands. Yet out of all of this wealth of raw material only Prunus tomentosa has been truly domesticated as an esculent though possibly a score of these species are well-known ornamentals. of the 100 eastern Asiatic species about 75 belong to China - the remainder to Formosa, Siam and Japan with its islands. Happily these Chinese cherries are being introduced, but a few at a time, it is true, to Europe and America and it can hardly be otherwise than that they will enrich horticulture as they are domesticated, hybridized or used as a consort upon which to grow the cherries now known to cultivation. In particular, it may be expected that cherries for the cold north and the bleak plains of our continent will be evolved from the Asiatic species better suited to these regions than the cultivated cherries we now grow.
The number and diversity of the species of cherries which this brief review of Cerasus shows to exist suggest that our cultivated cherry flora is but begun. There can be no question but that others of these species than the few that have been domesticated will yield to improvement under cultivation and furnish refreshing fruits. It is just as certain that new types, as valuable perhaps as the hybrid Dukes we now have, can be produced through hybridization. In North America, we have no satisfactory stock for cultivated Sweet and Sour Cherries. Both of the stocks now commonly used, the Mazzard and the Mahaleb, as we shall see, have weaknesses that unfit them for general use. Surely out of the great number of forms we have just listed a better stock than either of the two named can be found. No doubt, too, many of these new species, even though they do not furnish food, will prove valuable timber or ornamental trees.
We are ready now for a more detailed discussion of the cultivated species of cherries.
[The text below was originally in Chapter II, "Cherry Culture"- A.S.C.]
The magnitude of the cherry
industry in the United States is not generally appreciated. This
is because cherries are very largely grown in small home plantations and
the product is either consumed at home and in local markets, or is sent
to canning factories and is therefore disposed of without the display attending
the production and marketing of fruits sold in the general market.
The following figures from the last census show the importance of the industry.
There were in 1909, according to the census taken in 1910, 11,822,044 bearing
cherry trees in the United States and 5,621,660 trees not of bearing age.
The bearing trees bore 4,126,099 bushels of fruit valued at $7,231,160.
When this, the thirteenth census, was taken the cherry ranked fifth in
commercial value among orchard fruits, being surpassed in the order named
by the apple, peach, plum and pear.
The yield of fruit was 43.6 per centum greater in 1909 than in 1899. This high percentage of increase has been brought about in several ways. The recent development of rapid transportation, refrigerator service and of marketing facilities has greatly stimulated the culture of this as of all other fruits in the United States. An increased demand for canned and preserved cherries has sprung up so that cherries are much more used now than formerly, the trade in preserved cherries for confections and various drinks in particular having greatly increased. Lastly, better care of orchards and better means of combating insects and fungi have increased the yields during the last decade.
Cherries are grown in greater or less quantities in every state in the Union but commercially the industry is confined to a few states having especial advantages in climate, soil and markets. In but six states, according to the last census, was the value of the cherry crop more than a half-million dollars, the states being: California $951,654, Pennsylvania $909,975, Ohio $657,406, Michigan $590,829, New York $544,508, Indiana $508,516. In New York in particular, recent plantings of this fruit have been so great that at this writing, July, 1914, the figures given for this State could be increased by a quarter at the very least, and no doubt they could be largely increased also for California and Michigan. The great growth of the canning industry is most largely responsible for the large plantings of cherries in recent years in regions especially suited to this fruit.
In the several states named, the cherry industry is further localized, Thus, in the 61 counties in New York, the cherry is grown largely in but 12, the number of trees in each of these being; Columbia 78,526, Niagara 61,786, Monroe 49,831, Ontario 36,394, Wayne 35,385, Eric 29,483, Ononadaga 25,932, Seneca 27,063, Chautauqua 24,483, Steuben 15,412, Orleans 14,682 and Cayuga 14,319. If the figures just given, the total number being 413,296, are compared with the number of trees in the State, 674,000, it will be seen that the industry is quite localized, two-thirds of the cherries being grown in T2 of the 61 counties, though the fact is brought out in the census that cherries are grown on 59,408 farms in New York, showing that this fruit is much grown for home use. Further figures of interest as regards New York are that the cherry crop in 1909 amounted to 271,597 bushels which sold for $544,508. The plantings in the State cover in the neighborhood of 9,500 acres.
A canvass of the leading cherry-growers and nurserymen in the United States shows that, in all parts of the country excepting California, Oregon and Washington, Sour Cherries are much more commonly grown than Sweet Cherries. In New York at least go per cent of the cherry trees are of sour varieties and this proportion will hold for the region east of the Rockies. The leading commercial varieties of Sour Cherries, in order named, are Montmorency, Early Richmond and English Morello. No other variety is nearly as commonly grown as is even the least well known of these three. No one of the Duke cherries is mentioned as of commercial importance, but May Duke, Late Duke and Reine Hortense are frequently grown in home plantations.
Growers of Sweet Cherries are not nearly as closely in accord as to the best varieties as are those who grow sour sorts. The most popular Sweet Cherries in the East seem to be Windsor, Black Tartarian, Napoleon and Wood with a very insistent statement of the few who have tried it that Schmidt is better than any of these for the market. On the Pacific Coast honors go to Napoleon, which the Westerners continue to call Royal Ann despite the fact that it has been cultivated for three centuries and bad been called Napoleon for nearly a half-century before Lewelling took it to Oregon in 1847- Other popular sorts on the Pacific seaboard are Bing, Lambert and Republican - all western productions.
1 Koehne has presented the results
of a careful study of the distribution of cherries in Mill. Deutsch.
Dendr. Ges. 168-183. 1912.
2 Greene (Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 19: 55-60. 1905), Preferring Cerasus to Prunus as a generic name for racemose cherries, gives the following new specie: Cerasus californka (Fl. Francis. so. 1891) from the hills of middle western California; Cerasus crmzdcaa from the Mongolian Mountains, New Mexico; Cerasus arida inhabiting the borders of the desert at the eastern base of the San Bernardino Mountain, California; Cerasus prunifolia found in the mountains of Fresno County, California; Cerasus rhamnoides selected at Mud Springs, Amador County, California; Cerasus kelloggiana from the middle Sierra Nevada Mountains in California; Cerasus padifolia collected in the foothills near Carson City, Nevada; Cerasus obliqua described from a single specimen from Orovine, California; Cerasus parviflora known only from Mt. Shasta, California; Cerasus obtusa from the arid interior of Southeastern Oregon; and Cerasus trichopetala found at Columbia Falls, Montana. The type specimens of these eleven species are in the National Herbarium at Washington.