Which is Your Favorite: Sour (Tart) Cherry, Bush Cherry or Cornelian Cherry?

Hello everyone,

From what I understand… the 3 of these are fairly similar. They all have a tart cherry taste to them, but which is your overall favorite, and why? I’m mainly interested in taste and ease of growing, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Cornelian Cherries & Bush Cherries are shade tolerant, which is a huge plus for my yard.

Also what varieties of each do you recommend. I’ve heard good things about the following:

Bush Cherry: Romeo, Juliet, Carmine Jewel
Sour Cherry: Montmorency, Northstar
Cornelian Cherry: I’m clueless.

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Montmorency hands down!


Montmorency hands down for a Sour Cherry or you think it’s the best of the three cherry types?

I haven’t found much more on this topic… hopefully a bump will get me some answers.

Montmorency for tree type / Carmine Jewell for bush type.

Clark! Do you prefer one over the other?!

That’s a very hard call. Carmine Jewell have more color so I suspect they are slightly more healthy. Montmorency grow taller and for that reason produce more fruit. So it comes down to picking on a ladder or not? Spraying on a ladder or not? At the moment I must say there are days I don’t like to pick on a ladder but when I add up my cherries montmorency yields more in the same space but not by much. On a windy day when I need to spray I prefer carmine Jewell for sure. Montmorency is a cherry I will always grow because it is a good one. I grafted mine from my girlfriends tree and propagated another from sprouts nearby. Carmine Jewell sucker profusely so like montmorency don’t expect them to stay put. If you want them to stay put don’t put either on their own roots. That brings up another point which is montmorency on its own roots gets 20-25’ tall but there are plenty of dwarf rootstocks to put it on so technically it could stay short and not sucker. Choosing between them would be like choosing between children and at this point I don’t feel I could.

Is Carmine known to have disease problems? I know Montmorency is good about that.

Neither has to many diseases so far but I suspect Montmorency is the most disease resistant cherry I’ve seen.

Clark. Thanks a ton for your help. I’m leaning more towards Carmine simply because my yard has a lot of shade.

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So if there were a quart of CJ and a quart of Monty setting on the counter and you were making a pie and could only choose one which would you grab?

Ha, and I wonder which you’d eat fresh too! I know Romeo & Juliet are both sweeter than Carmine according to HoneyberryUSA: Dwarf Sour Cherry, Sour Cherries, Dwarf Sour Cherries for sale

Fresh eating Carmine Jewell is a better choice. Montmorency are slightly more watery and a shade larger than Carmine Jewell. So for a pitting cherry montmorency is slightly easier pitting and a more watery pie.

Corenelian Cherries are not real cherries. They are dogwoods. Carmine has 2 cherry species, but they are both Prunus species. The dogwood cherry is cornus mas. I grow Carmine and cornus mas. My dogwoods are in shade, a lot of shade, so not sure they will ever produce? They were seedlings too, 14 of them. I made a hedge at my cottage. It’s working well as a hedge, 6 years old, no fruit yet. If I bought grafted trees, or larger trees, I would have had fruit. These really were a steal, so I took them, like 3 bucks each. So ANY fruit is a bonus. The fruit too is very different. Not really edible raw. Used in Iran like we use cranberry sauce, to complement meats. It makes great ice cream, and jellies and jams. Well at least I’m told! I hope to find out next year, but who knows? The wood is awesome! Used for tool handles, and is really old school. The wood is so dense it sinks in water. One of the hardest woods around. Used for bows, and spears way back when. Native to Asia and the Middle East. It is hardy too.


Ha. you’ll have to keep me updated next year, Drew. And that’s super interesting about the wood.

On this side of the pond the indigenous people used the serviceberry to make arrows, and harpoons. I know one guy who uses it today to make wooden spoons. I have one of these too (the tree, not the spoon!)! It takes the cake for the most common names!
western serviceberry, juneberry, western juneberry, sarvis tree,
sarvisberry, alderleaf sarvisberry, shad, shadberry, shadblow, shadbush,
saskatoon, saskatoon serviceberry, saskatoon berry, pigeonberry,
comier, Indian pear, sugar pear, sweet pear, grape pear, poire, sugar
plum, mountain pear, and currant tree (Angier [2008] 1974: 202;
Kindscher 1987: 28; McPherson and McPherson 1977: 114).

I have the cultivar Northline. It is a seedling.In a container. Only grows to 6 feet.

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When my Botany teacher in college mentioned the plant,he used the word Sarvisberry and it’s probably the reason why, years later,I planted some.
One story I read about the Serviceberry name.It may have come out of the New England area,but,because in Winter,the ground froze and they couldn’t dig graves until it thawed.So they’d wait til the Serviceberry bloomed in the Spring and that was the signal the ground was ready and the “Service” could be done. Brady


Nanking cherry is worth planting too, especially for fresh eating. The pit to flesh ratio make it worthless for pies but they make a great ornamental bush and the fruit are delicious right off the tree.


I don;'t know where you live, but many cherries have problems in wet or humid climates. Montmorency does great here in the PNW but most bush cherries have real problems and won’t fruit. I grow Cornus mas Cornelian cherry but i only eat them when dead ripe. They are good medicine for when you are starting to get sick so I freeze most and eat that way in winter.They fruit in part shade for me.
John S
pdx or


That’s me, John. It’s rainy & humid here. Why won’t they fruit?