ALBA HEART A cherry of uncertain history and age, though well known in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the early 20th Century. It was not known elsewhere. The middle season, medium sized fruit is black skinned with juicy, dark flesh. The flavour is good. Trees are vigorous and middle-flowering.



ARCHDUKE The large fruit ripens from pale to dark red; almost black if left to hang until fully ripe. The flesh is very dark red, juicy and sweet, with a brisk flavour until fully ripe, when it becomes much sweeter. It is ripe from mid- to end-July. The trees are fairly compact and partly self-fertile. Hogg says that the true Archduke Cherry was for a time very rare: he first encountered it when visiting Rivers’ nursery at Sawbridgeworth in 1847, when Rivers told him that it had been grown there by his ancestors for more than a century. It was mentioned by Parkinson in the early 17th century, although even he found it difficult to obtain the true variety: Middle-late flowering.



AUGUST HEART 'A' A large, oval cherry with a long stalk, found in Buckinghamshire and kept at East Malling. Our scion wood came from the National Collection around 1998. Ripe in late July or August (late for a cherry) becoming shining black, with dark red flesh, sweet and juicy and richly flavoured. Trees are fairly vigorous. Two other August Heart cherries have been known –one earlier and smaller than ‘A’ and another which is white.




BEDFORD PROLIFIC 'A' Also known as Sheppard’s Bedford Prolific, it was introduced by Sheppard, a nurseryman of Bedford. It dates from 1857. There are three different varieties that have this name - A, B and C, - but this is the original one, from Buckinghamshire, where it was much grown. Trees are vigorous with large quantities of fruit, which have a shiny dark skin. Flesh is very dark, tender and juicy, with good sweetness. The cherries are ripe in early July. Early-middle flowering. Incompatible with Early Rivers and Ronalds’ Heart.


BIGARREAU GAUCHER Believed to be an old variety but without any old recorded history, before 1907. It is one of the universal pollinators. A vigorous variety, which fruits in July and August, with almost black cherries, having very dark red, juicy flesh. It was regarded as one of the best for market. Late-flowering.






BIGARREAU NAPOLEON Said by Hogg to be one of the best of the Bigarreau cherries. First known as Grosse Lauermann’s Kirsche, later as Bigarreau Lauermann and first noted in 1791, in Germany. It was introduced to England in 1832. Large yellow heart shaped cherries which develop a near total covering of deep red in the sun. The flesh is white and reddish at the stone, rich, sweet and aromatic. Ripe at the end of July and early August. Vigorous, prolific and hardy. Late-flowering.








BLACK EAGLE The name was recorded in 1814. Brought to our attention by Mr George Lewis of Prestwood, Buckinghamshire. The only known old tree, was found growing in the garden of Mr Maurice Randall, formerly part of a large commercial cherry orchard in Prestwood, owned by his forebears. Cherry orchards were once widespread in Buckinghamshire but all are now gone, except for a few orphaned old trees, scattered over the county. The Prestwood Black Eagle was said to be “of the Bud type rather than the Caroon type”, meaning that it was reproduced vegetatively, rather than grown from true breeding seed, as were caroons (or crooms, carones). Large sweet, black fruit. * Middle-flowering.


BLACK HEART Bunyard suggests this variety dates back to 1667. The name has been used as a generic term for black-hearted cherries, but this seems to be the only one surviving the ages. A very old variety with black shiny skin and sweet rich and juicy dark red flesh. Medium to large, often mis-shapen but highly esteemed. The variety is fairly vigorous with a spreading habit. Ripe mid-season. Early-middle flowering.










BLACK OLIVER One of the Universal Pollinators. Once popular in the West Midlands; not common elsewhere. Trees are vigorous, but not tall; rather spreading or weeping, forming a dense head when fully grown. The fruit is medium-large, round or heart-shaped, and is produced mid-season. Black, rather glossy skin, with inconspicuous dots. Very dark red flesh, which is soft and juicy. Early-middle flowering.











BRADBOURNE BLACK One of several old varieties in the keeping of Martin Stevens of Holmer Green, Buckinghamshire. Now in his 90s, he has been associated with a local orchard, managed for Haslemere Estate, since 1928. The orchards were planted around 1820-1850 and his family, back to his great grandfather, worked with the fruit. The orchards have now almost all gone but many of the best old varieties, some now important rediscoveries, were regrafted and relocated by his family. He reports that Bradbourne Black was new to Buckinghamshire during World War II. It is likely it arose at Bradbourne House, (now part of Hatton Gardens) East Malling, Kent, before 1920, when Bunyard wrote of it. Once grown commercially in quantity, with good quality, heart-shaped, large, black fruit with a short stalk, firm flesh and dark red juice of very rich flavour, mid to late in the season. Vigorous trees, heavy cropping, with branches that sweep low. Mr Stevens says it can be eaten while still red and yet be very sweet. It goes fully black when ripe. Middle-late flowering.


CASSIA A variety traditional to Buckinghamshire but about which very little is known. The fruit is medium sized and black, maturing mid-season. Juicy, sweet and tangy, with a rich flavour. The trees grow quite tall. Middle flowering.