For centuries Yellow Spanish must have been the best of all the Bigarreaus and it is only in comparatively late years that it has had rivals. Even yet in tree-characters it is hardly equaled, surpassing Windsor, which has a notable tree, in several respects and falling short of it only in hardiness. The trees are large,-perhaps the largest of all the varieties of Prunus avium, having an upright-spreading top which gives a large bearing surface and forms a canopy of splendid foliage. The trees are vigorous, bear abundantly and regularly and come in bearing young, -with the crop well distributed and not in clusters as is the case and the fault of Windsor. Unfortunately, the cherries, though very good in most characters, do not come up to the trees in points of superiority. They are rather smaller than those of Napoleon, the greatest competitor of Yellow Spanish, and are more subject to attacks of brown-rot than several others of the Bigarreaus. As may be seen by comparing the color-plates, however, Yellow Spanish is rather the handsomer of the two cherries, the crimson color being more evenly distributed and the skin not having the mottled appearance of Napoleon. In quality Yellow Spanish is the better of the two, having tenderer flesh and a sweeter and richer flavor. Yellow Spanish is notable in the nursery for its strong, upright growth and its large leaves, the leaves of no other cherry attaining so great a size. In blossoming time the variety may be distinguished by the whiteness of the blossoms as they open and a reddish tint as they drop. It is a mid-season cherry, ripening after Wood and a few days before Napoleon. Despite the great age of the variety it still remains one of the best, furnishing proof, by the way, that varieties of cherries do not degenerate with age. In New York Yellow Spanish cannot be spared from either home or commercial plantings.
Yellow Spanish is so old and so widely dissminated that its origin can only be conjectured. From the name we naturally infer a Spanish nativity and yet it is almost equally well known as Bigarreau, a word of French derivation. Under the last name French pomologists believe that they trace its history to the First Century of the Christian Era as the variety described by Pliny under the name Cerasum Duracinum. The Germans and Austrians certainly knew this variety in the Eighteenth Century and probably much earlier, an inference to be drawn from the references given. Parkinson, the English herbalist, described a cherry in 1629 which he called the Biguarre Cherrie which later came to be known as the Bigarreau or Graffion by English writers and which we now know to be Yellow Spanish. Seven years later Gerarde described a Spanish cherry the description of which is not unlike our Yellow Spanish. Miller and Forsyth, English writers, also at an early date described a Spanish cherry which may be the fruit of this discussion.
Fortunately we are well informed as to the history of Yellow Spanish in America. Prince, one of the most accurate of American pomologists, in 1832, gave the following historical account of the Graffion, or Yellow Spanish: "This tree was imported from London by the father of the author, in the year 1802, under the name Yellow Spanish, and one of the original trees is now growing in his garden, where it produces abundantly, and there is little doubt that from his stock have originated most of the trees of this kind now in our country, as he has taken much pains to recommend it."Why Prince and other Americans came to call the variety introduced by the elder Prince of Europe as Yellow Spanish, as Bigarreau and Graffion, does not appear unless the younger Prince wanted to make the name in this country conform to that in most common usage in England at the time. Besides the names already given, Yellow Spanish has been rather widely grown in America as Ox Heart and White Caroon. This variety was placed on the recommended list of the National Congress of Fruit Growers, which afterwards became the American Pomological Society, in 1848, under the name Bigarreau. The name was changed in 1897 to Yellow Spanish and it now appears on the hst of that organization as Spanish.
Tree very large and vigorous, upright-spreading, rather open-topped, productive; trunk thick, of medium smoothness; branches stocky, reddish-brown covered with ash- gray, smooth except for the numerous large lenticels; branchlets short, brown nearly overspread with ash-gray, smooth, with small, slightly raised, inconspicuous lenticels.
Leaves numerous five and one-half inches long, two and one-half inches wide, folded upward, obovate to elliptical; upper surface dark green, nearly smooth, grooved along the midrib; lower surface light green, lightly pubescent; apex acute, base variable in shape; margin coarsely and doubly serrate, with small, dark glands; petiole one and three-fourths inches long, thick, heavily tinged with dull red, grooved along the upper surface, with from one to four large, reniform, reddish-yellow glands variable in position.
Buds conical, plump, free, arranged singly or in small clusters as lateral buds and from short spurs; leaf-scars prominent; season of bloom intermediate; flowers white, one and one-fourth inches across; borne in well-distributed clusters, in twos and in threes; pedicels about one inch long, glabrous, green; calyx-tube greenish, obconic, glabrous; calyx- lobes acute, reflexed; petals oval, entire, strongly dentate at the apex, tapering to short, blunt claws; filaments three-eighths inch long; pistil glabrous, equal to the stamens in length.
Fruit matures in mid-season; one inch or over in diameter, cordate, compressed; cavity deep, wide, flaring; suture a mere line; apex roundish, not depressed; color bright amber-yellow with a reddish blush, slightly mottled; dots numerous, small, light russet, obscure; stem one and one-half inches long, adherent to the fruit; skin thin, tough, separating from the pulp; flesh whitish, with colorless juice, tender, meaty, crisp, aromatic, sprightly, sweet; very good to best in quality; stone free, ovate, slightly flattened, oblique, with smooth surfaces; with two small, blunt ridges along the ventral suture near the apex.
1. Miller Gard. Dict. 1:1754. 2. Forsyth Treat. Fr. Trees 42. 1803. 3. Prince Treat. Hort. 28. 1828. 4. Prince Pom. Man. 2:125. 1832. 5. Thomas Am. Fruit Cult. 372. 1867. 6. Am. Pom. Soc. Cat. 17. 1897. 7. Budd-Hansen Am. Hort. Man. 2:291. 1903. Biguarre Cherrie. 8. Parkinson Par. Ter. 572. 1629. 9. Rea Flora 205. 1676. Spanish. 10. Gerarde Herball 1503, fig- 3. 1636. Bigarreau Commun. 11. Duhamel Trait. Arb. Fr. 1: 167, 168. 1768. 12. Prince Pom. Man. 2: 128. 1832. 13. Poiteau Pom. Franc. 2: No. 5, Pl. 1846. 14. Mortillet Le Cerisier 2:115-119, fig. 26. 1866. 15. Pom. France 7: No. 2, P1. 2. 871. 16. Leroy Dict. Pom. 5:188-191, fig. 1877. 17. Cat. Cong. Pom. France 20, fig. 1906.
Gemeine Marmorkirsche. 19. Truchsess-Heim Kirschensort. 301-303. 1819. 19. Ill. Handb. 123 fig., 124. 1860.
Graffion. 20. Truchsess-Heim Kirschensort. 338-340. 1819. 21. Brookshaw Hort. Reposit. 1:69, P1. 34 fig. I. 1823. 22. Prince Pom. Man. 2:1,37, 138- 1832. 23. Cultivator N. S. 6:21, fig. 6. 1849. 24. Elliott Fr. Book 208. 1854.
Bigarreau. 25. Mag. Hort. 9:202, 1843. 26. Downing Fr. Trees Am. 179 fig., 180. 1845. 27. Floy-Lindley Guide Orch. Gard. 102. 2846. 28. Proc. Nat. Con. Fr. Gr. 52. 1848. 29. Cole Am. Fr. Book 233 fig. 31. 1849. 30. Hogg Fruit Man. 281, 282. 1884.
[Yellow Spanish in 'Cherries of Utah']