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A cherry is a drupe, a fleshy fruit that has a single hard stone enclosing a
seed. It belongs to the family Rosaceae and genus Prunus, along with
almonds, peaches, plums, and apricots. Sweet and tart cherries are different
species, avium and cerasus respectively.
In the United States, most sweet cherries are grown in the West. Washington
and California supply mainly dark, sweet Bing cherries intended for fresh
use, while Oregon and Michigan provide light-colored Royal Ann (Napoleon)
cherries for the maraschino cherry process. Most tart cherries are grown in
four states bordering the Great Lakes -- Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania,
Some flowering cherry trees (known as 'ornamental cherries') do not bear
fruit. They are grown purely for their blossom and their decorative value.
Cherries have a very short fruiting season. In Australia, they are usually at
their peak around Christmas time, and in the UK they are generally ready for
picking in early summer.