Cherry wins the popularity contest when it comes to ornamental trees. It's one of the most widely planted ornamentals in the nation. It's easy to see why in spring, when the trees dance into center stage in gardens and backyards wearing frothy tutus of white or pink blossoms. This first act is followed by oodles of small, bright, fruit and often a fall foliage show. But despite its many fans, the cherry tree has its secrets, little known facts that make it so much more than just a pretty face.

cherry blossom trees on the Stray Harrogate Yorkshire
credit: mikeuk/iStock/GettyImages
Interesting Facts About Cherry Trees

Cherry Tree Facts

The minute you begin to investigate this lovely little fruit tree, you get wowed by fascinating cherry tree facts you never even suspected. For example, did you know that you might well run across a cherry tree in the wild on forest hikes in Europe, Asia Minor or North Africa? The trees are native to these areas.

And did you know your favorite fruit tree is in the rose family? But it's not alone in this family tie. Many of your fruit trees share this connection, since apricot, peach, plum and almond trees are all in the Rosaceae family. If you look closely at the blossoms on these trees, you'll see that they all look like wild roses. In fact, all of these trees are found in the wild and all – like wild roses – have five-petaled flowers. Note that your cherry cultivar flowers may look different, since many have "double" flowers with lots more petals.

Cherry Tree Information

Here's a great cherry tree fact to keep in mind when you are planting a young tree in your garden. If it's a sweet cherry tree, producing cherries for eating fresh, you'll have a four to seven-year wait on your hands. It takes this long from planting until the tree bears fruit. How about a sour cherry tree, with fruit intended to be tuckrf into pies or blended into jams? You'll have less of a wait. Think three to five years between planting and fruiting.

Fleeting Beauty of Ornamental Cherries

Some grow cherry trees for the fruit, others for the flowers, and growers have provided for both. Those emphasizing the blossoms are called ornamental or "flowering" cherry trees. But beauty is ephemeral. Say, you get your cherry tree planted and wait out the time until it blooms. You may expect your tree to provide its showy and fragrant flower display every spring for the rest of your life. But in fact, the beauty of cherry blossoms is fleeting. Some trees remain frothy for only a week.

And the trees themselves are relatively short-lived. According to cherry tree information, some cherry trees only live 16 to 20 years, although the black cherry tree (Prunus serotina), native to this country, can live hundreds of years. Sour cherry trees have shorter lifespans than do sweet cherry cultivars.

Cherry Trees as Medicine

It's quite well known that cherries, especially sour cherries, have high levels of disease-fighting antioxidants. The fruit also contains other vitamins and minerals a human body needs, like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, iron, potassium, magnesium and fiber. But, did you know that the tree's foliage and fruit are used by some as a diuretic, removing fluid from the body? Some suggest cherries can be used as an aid to treating rheumatic illness and also improving circulation. Cherry decoctions are also used on the skin to help with healing.