MAY DUKE The name May Duke is a possibly a corruption of Medoc, the French region where it was believed to have come from, centuries ago. Perversely, May Duke later became known on the continent as Anglaise Hâtive. The Duke cherry was probably first mentioned by Rea in 1665, though Parkinson (1629) knew of May cherries. A mid-season dessert cherry, ready by mid to late June. The fruit becomes dark red, with flesh of red - soft, juicy, tangy and sweet. Vigorous trees, cropping well. The fruit seldom cracks. It is partly self-fertile. Middle-late flowering.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

MERTON GLORY Raised in 1947, a 'white' dessert cherry with fairly large white fruit, flushed red. The flesh is sweet and juicy. Fruit is ripe by late June. It is a vigorous and regular cropper, and also a universal pollinator. It fruits when young. The trees have a spreading habit. Early-middle flowering.

 

 

MORELLO The name means 'Little Moor', from the darkness of the fruit. It is thought to have been grown in Britain for several hundred years and may have been bred from Prunus Cerasus, the Wild Bitter Cherry, which is still found around the Black Sea. It was very popular in the 18th century. Though a very traditional cooking variety, it may be eaten raw if very ripe. Initially deep red, the cherries become almost black, but retain high acidity, ideal for pies, etc. Ripe in July, they last and continue to ripen into August. Crops are usually heavy. It is self-fertile and will grow on a north wall. Late-flowering.

 

 

 

MUM’S TREE A tree from the orchard of Martin Stevens at Holmer Green, Buckinghamshire, the name of which has been lost over time. His original tree was planted around 1911 and was always the favourite of his mother, née Alice Busby. The cherries are red and the sweetest of all his old cherries. The original tree has gone but a 30 year old offspring now grows in his garden. Middle season. Middle-flowering.*

 

 

 

 

 

NEWMAN In 2007, Mr C Hunwick, of Romford, Essex, sent us some fruit from his very old cherry tree, and later he sent scionwood. His house was built in the 1930s within an old nursery orchard. The age of the tree is difficult to judge, but it certainly predates his house and probably by many years. The cherries are really quite large, black, juicy, very sweet and rich. They are normally ripe in mid-July. The variety name is now lost and not readily discernible. Mr Hunwick has asked for it to be named ‘Newman’, this being an old family name that has been passed down the generations. A strong grower with excellent fruit.

 

 

 
             

 

NIMBLE DICK An old variety from the lost cherry orchards of Prestwood, Buckinghamshire. Once extensive, the commercial cherry orchards are now represented by individual trees, here and there. Reports of the existence of a tree came to George Lewis, but rumours of the survival of Nimble Dick proved premature. When he found the tree it was already dead. In 2008 a very large and mature cherry tree was brought into the survey of Prestwood’s remaining cherry trees, by George Lewis, in the boundary hedge of the garden of Sue and Nick Snell. It was later identified as a Nimble Dick by Maurice Randall, the veteran cherry expert of Prestwood. The first new trees were propagated by us in 2009 and they returned to be planted in Prestwood. Our thanks to all concerned. It is a small, very dark red, almost glossy black, cherry with a long stalk. It was highly favoured, like Prestwood Black, for turnovers and pies, rich and tart, but sweet too. The juice is dark and stains the fingers.*

 

NOIR DE GUBEN One of the Universal Pollinators, and once a popular market variety as its firm flesh meant that it travelled well. It was raised by Herr Groth of Guben, before 1920. A good pollinator for Early Rivers, as it begins flowering even earlier, but the flowering times overlap. The fruit ripens after that of Early Rivers; mid-season to late, later when young. It is large or very large, roundish or heart-shaped, quite plump, ripening to near-black, with a shiny skin. The flesh is very dark red, and although firm, is quite juicy with a good flavour. Trees are vigorous, becoming spreading, with good crops. Early flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

NUTBERRY BLACK A variety which was originally from Bapchild Court, near Sittingbourne, in Kent, but was later widely planted and is now recognised as a Universal Pollinator. So-named because the fruit was thought to have a nutty flavour. The fruit is produced early to mid-season; medium-sized or large; roundish and slightly asymmetric. It ripens to black, with a shiny skin, rather firm but juicy flesh and with a good flavour. The tree is quite vigorous, becoming wide-spreading, with good crops. Early-middle flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

 
             

 

PRESTWOOD BLACK It has also been called Little Black, the cherries being known locally as Chuggies. As with Black Eagle, it was brought to our attention by George Lewis of Prestwood, Buckinghamshire. The only old tree left has reached the end of its life in the garden of Mr Maurice Randall, formerly part of a large commercial cherry orchard in Prestwood, owned by his forebears. It was probably over 100 years old. The name is not recorded in any historic literature, though it has been well known locally. A small, black, sweet dessert cherry, ripe mid-season, long also used for pies, bottling and as a strong dye. Our thanks to Mr Lewis and Mr Randall for their good work. Middle-flowering. *

 

 

 

PRESTWOOD WHITE HEART Another of the survivors of Prestwood, in the garden of the home of Mrs Jones. Her house was built in the 1930s on the site of an orchard formerly owned by a Mr Peddle. The tree is over a century old and was probably planted by him. The name came down through the years, intact, to Mrs Jones. There are different White Hearts that have been known around the country and it is a generic term, but this cherry is different from the White Heart ‘A’ we also list. A sweet and juicy pale-fleshed, midseason cherry, of medium size and with a cream skin that is blushed amber in the sun. Middle-flowering. *

 

 

 

 

RONALDS' HEART It has also been called Reynold's Heart and is a variety local to Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. It does not appear in the early literature, but the name alone suggests it must be 18th or very early 19th century. Hogg refers to a Ronald’s Black Heart, in 1884, which he says is the same as Black Tartarian, and therefore different to this. The fruit is large or very large and heart-shaped. It is nearly black, but with paler stripes, and very shiny skin. The flesh is dark red, soft, juicy, and of good quality. It fruits mid season. Middle-late flowering. Incompatible with Early Rivers and Bedford Prolific.