Wood is preeminently a Sweet Cherry for the amateur, having many qualities that fit it for the home orchard and but few to commend it to commercial growers. The trees are a little tender to cold, are not quite productive enough to make the variety profitabte and are, too, somewhat fastidious as to soils. To offset these defects, they are vigorous and healthy and bear early. But the chief fault of the cherry from the cherry grower's standpoint is to be found in the fruit. The flesh is soft and the cherries will not stand handling in harvesting and shipping and are very susceptible to brown-rot and crack badly in wet weather. Wood has special merit in the home collection, however, because of its earliness, its beautiful appearance and delicious flavor. It is one of the first of the Sweet Cherries, is large and, as the color-plate shows, is a beautiful yellowish-white tinted with shades of crimson, with conspicuous russet dots - a beautiful fruit. The flesh separates readily from the skin, is tender, juicy, with an abundance of colorless juice and a flavor that has given it the reputation, wherever grown in America, of being one of the best in quality. It would be hard to name another cherry better suited for small plantations and it is to be hoped that it will long be kept in the gardens of connoisseurs of good fruit.
Wood is one of the best of Professor J.P. Kirtland's1 seedlings. It was raised by him in 1842 at Cleveland, Ohio, and named in honor of Reuben Wood, at one time Governor of Ohio. In 1856, it was added to the fruit list of the American Pomological Society where it still remains, being changed in 1909 to Wood with Governor Wood as a synonym. Its popularity is shown in the United States by the fact that practically every nurseryman in this country lists this variety.
Tree vigorous, upright-spreading, open, productive; trunk stout; branches thick, smooth, dull reddish-brown covered with ash-gray, with a few small lenticels; branchlets thick, reddish-brown slightly overspread with ash-gray, smooth, glabrous, with a few inconspicuous, raised lenticels.
Leaves numerous, four and one-half inches long, two and one-half inches wide, folded upward, obovate, thin; upper surface light green, smooth; lower surface dull green, lightly pubescent; apex acute, base abrupt; margin coarsely and doubly serrate, glandular; petiole one and one-half inches long, slender, tinged with dull red, with from one to three reniform, reddish glands on the stalk.
Buds large, long, pointed, very plump, free, arranged singly as lateral buds or in small clusters on short spurs; leaf-scars prominent; season of bloom intermediate; flowers one inch across, arranged in twos and threes; pedicels one inch long, slender, glabrous, greenish; calyx-tube tinged with red, obconic, glabrous; calyx-lobes reddish, long, acute, glabrous on both surfaces, reflexed; petals roundish, crenate, with short, blunt claws; anthers yellowish; filaments one-eighth inch long; pistil glabrous, equal to the stamens in length, sometimes defective.
Fruit matures in early mid-season; nearly one inch in diameter, roundish-cordate, compressed; cavity of medium depth, wide, flaring; suture variable in depth, distinct, wide; apex roundish; color shades of crimson on a yellowish-white background; dots numerous, small, light russet, somewhat conspicuous, especially just before maturity; stem slender, one and one-half inches long, adhering well to the fruit; skin thin, tender, separating from the pulp; flesh whitish, with colorless juice, tender, meaty, mild, sweet; very good in quality; stone clinging, rather large, roundish, blunt, with smooth surfaces; with a broad, ventral suture.
1. Am. POM. SOC. Cat. 26. 1909.
Governor Wood. 2. Elliott Fr. Book 196 fig. 1854. 3. Am. Pom. Soc. Cat. l08. 1856. 4. Leroy Dict. Pom. 5:324 fig. 1877.
[Governor Wood in 'Cherries of Utah']