The cultivated forms are of the species sweet cherry (P. avium) to which most cherry cultivars belong, and the sour cherry (P. cerasus), which is used mainly for cooking. Both species originate in Europe and western Asia; they usually do not cross-pollinate. Some other species, although having edible fruit, are not grown extensively for consumption, except in northern regions where the two main species will not grow. Irrigation, spraying, labor, and their propensity to damage from rain and hail make cherries relatively expensive.
Commercial cherries are obtained from cultivars of several species, such as the sweet Prunus avium and the sour Prunus cerasus. The name ‘cherry’ also refers to the cherry tree and its wood, and is sometimes applied to almonds and visually similar flowering trees in the genus Prunus, as in “ornamental cherry” or “cherry blossom“. Wild cherry may refer to any of the cherry species growing outside cultivation, although Prunus avium is often referred to specifically by the name “wild cherry” in the British Isles.
Raw sweet cherries are 82% water, 16% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and negligible in fat (table). As raw fruit, sweet cherries provide little nutrient content per 100 g serving, as only dietary fiber and vitamin C are present in moderate content, while other vitamins and dietary minerals each supply less than 10% of the Daily Value (DV) per serving, respectively (table).