Schmidt, shortened in accordance with the names of the American Pomological Society from Schmidt's Bigarreau, is not new nor can it be said to be little known, since it has been rather widely planted in America for a score of years. Yet in New York, at least, it is not receiving the attention that it deserves from commercial cherry-growers, being relegated to the rear of ten or a dozen kinds when it should be in the front rank. Indeed, about Geneva, where many Sweet Cherries are grown, while not the leading market variety, it is one of the best. The characters which entitle it to a high place as a money-maker are: large size, being unsurpassed in this respect by any other black Cherry in this region; its round, plump form and glossy, black color which tempt the eye; crisp, firm, juicy flesh and sweet, rich flavor, delicious to the taste; dark ruby-red color under the skin which makes it as pleasing inwardly as outwardly; freedom from brown-rot, in this respect excelling any other market sort; and a vigorous, healthy, productive tree. The tree is further characterized by its abundant, large leaves of dark, luxuriant green. The fruit is often picked before it is ripe, at which time it is dark red and not black. There is a good deal of enthusiasm in New York over several new Sweet Cherries from the Pacific Coast but in this vicinity none of these is equal to Schmidt.
Schmidt is a seedling of Festfleischige Schwarze Knorpelkirsche and was raised by Herr Schmidt, Forester at Casekow, Prussia, Germany, about 1841. It was introduced into England by Thomas Rivers of Sawbridgeworth and eventually found its way to America but how and when is not known. Schmidt appeared on the fruit list of the American Pomological Society in 1897 but only for two years when for some reason it was dropped. In 1909, a Smith was listed, with Smith's Bigarreau as a synonym. Budd-Hansen in the publication of 1903 also mentioned a Smith which is probably Schmidt. We are inclined to hold to the German spelling, Schmidt.
Tree large, vigorous, upright-spreading, open-topped, productive; trunk and branches stocky, smooth; branches dull reddish-brown covered with ash-gray, with nuinerous lenticels; branchlets thick, short, smooth, with rather conspicuous, raised lenticels.
Leaves numerous, six inches long, three inches wide, folded upward, obovate; upper surface light green, smooth; lower surface pale green, pubescent along the midrib and larger veins; apex acute, base abrupt; margin serrate, glandular; petiole one and one half inches long, thick, dull red, with a narrow, deep groove along the upper surface, glandless or with one or two large, reniform, reddish glands on the stalk.
Buds large, long, obtuse to conical, plump, free, arranged singly as lateral buds and in numerous small clusters; leaf-scars prominent; time of blooming mid-season; flowers white, one and one-half inches across; borne in scattering clusters in twos and threes; pedicels one inch long, thick, glabrous; calyx-tube green or with a tinge of red, campanulate, glabrous; calyx-lobes long, broad, acute, serrate, glabrous within and without, reflexed; petals oval, crenate, with short, narrow claws; filaments three-eighths inch long; pistil glabrous, shorter than the stamens.
Fruit matures in mid-season; one inch in diameter, cordate, compressed, often slightly oblique; cavity deep, wide, flaring; suture indistinct; apex bluntly pointed; color purplish black; dots numerous, small, dark russet, obscure; stem slender, one and one-half inches long, strongly adherent to the fruit; skin tough, separating from the pulp; flesh purplish red, with dark colored juice, very meaty, crisp, firm, mild, sweet; of good quality; stone semi-clinging, ovate, slightly oblique, with smooth surfaces; ventral suture prominent.
1. Dochnahl Fuehr. Obstkunde 3:38-
1858. 2. Ill. Handb. 37 fig., 38. 1867- 3. Jour. Hort. N. S. 23:169 fig.
1872. 4. Flor. & Pom. 121, fig. 2. 1874. 5. Am. Pom. Soc. Cal. 17.
1897. 6. Budd Hansen Am. Hort. Man. 2:290. 1903.
Smith. 7. Am. Pom. Soc. Cal. 26. 1909.
[Schmidt in 'Cherries of Utah']