Black Tartarian is probably the favorite dooryard and roadside Sweet Cherry in New York and ranks second or third among commercial cherries in the State, as it probably does for the whole region east of the Mississippi, It is known by all who grow or eat cherries. The preeminently meritorious characters which give it so high a place in cherry cult-are are: first, and most important, the elasticity of its constitution whereby it adapts itself to widely different soils and climates; second, the fruitfulness, healthfulness and robustness of the trees which also bear regularly, live to an old age and grow to a prodigious size, oftentimes attaining a diameter of two feet; third, this variety is comparatively free from the worst of cherry diseases, brown-rot; lastly, the cherries, though not as large as some similar sorts, are tempting to the eye through their rotund form and glossy black color and are a delight to the palate, the handsome purplish-red flesh being firm and crisp, yet juicy, with a sweet, rich flavor which all agree gives the quality the rank of "very good to best." It is a virile variety and from it have come several promising seedlings and it is one of the parents of a number of crossbred cherries. Black Tartarian is earlier than most of the Sweet Cherries with which it must compete - under most conditions a help in marketing. Unfortunately it is a little too soft to handle well in harvesting and marketing or to hold its shape as a canned product. Its small size is also against it for the canner's trade. The several defects noted prevent Black Tartarian from taking first rank in commercial orchards but for the home plantation it is one of the best.
Black Tartarian came originally from Russia. It was introduced into England in 1794 from Circassia, by Hugh Ronalds of Brentford, Middlesex, as Ronald's Large Black Heart. Two years later, John Fraser introduced a variety, a native of. Crimea, which he purchased in St. Petersburg, as Fraser's Black Tartarian. This turned out to be the same as the cherry from Circassia. Some go farther back and say that Black Tartarian was carried to Russia from Spain, thence to England. It owes its introduction into this country to William Prince of Flushing, Long Island, probably in the early part of the Nineteenth century. It was recognized in 1848 and placed on the schedule of fruits at the National Convention of Fruit Growers which later became the present American Pomological Society. The variety still retains a place among the recommended cherries but under the name Tartarian. The variety quickly became popular in America, finding a place in every orchard and in the lists of all nurserymen. Some nurserymen claim to have superior strains of the old variety; as, Green's Tartarian and Black Tartarian Improved. Comparisons show no differences. Black Russian, listed by some firms, is probably Black Tartarian as it is used many times as a synonym by foreign writers.
Tree characteristically large, vigorous, upright, vasiform, productive; trunk of medium thickness, smooth; branches smooth, reddish-brown, slightly overspread with ash-gray, with large lenticels; brancmets rather long, brown almost entirely overspread with ash-gray, smooth, glabrous, with inconspicuous, slightly raised lenticels.
Leaves numerous, five and one-half inches long, two and one-half inches wide, folded upward, obovate to cuiptical, thin; upper surface dark green, rugose; lower surface light green, slightly pubsecent; apex acute, base abrupt; margin varies from serrate to crenate; petiole two inches long, thick, tinged with red, with a few hairs, with from one to three reniform, reddish glands of medium size usually on the stalk.
Buds pointed or obtuse, plump, free, arranged singly as lateral buds, or in small clusters on spurs of variable length; leaf-scars very prominent; season of bloom medium; flowers white, one and one-fourth inches across, borne in scattering well-distributed clusters in twos and threes; pedicels one inch long, slender, glabrous, greenish; calyx-tube faintly tinged with red, campanulate, glabrous; calyx-lobes with a trace of red, long, broad, obtuse, glabrous within and without, reflexed; petals roundish, entire, with short, blunt claws; anthers yellowish; filaments nearly one-half inch long; pistil glabrous, shorter than the stamens.
Fruit matures early; less than one inch in diameter, cordate, compressed; cavity intermediate in depth and width, flaring; suture indistinct; apex pointed and slightly depressed; color purplish-black; dots numerous, small, russet, obscure; stein slender, one and one-half inches long, adherent to the fruit; skin thin, separating readily from the pulp; flesh purplish-red, with dark colored juice, firm, meaty, crisp, pleasant flavored, mild, sweet; of very good quality; stone free, ovate, slightly flattened and oblique, with smooth surfaces.
1. Truchess-Heim Kirschenort.
130-132. 1819. 2. POM. Mag- 1:44, P1. 1828. 3. Lond. Hort. Soc. Cat. 55.
1831. 4. Prince Pom. Man. 2:113, 194. 1832. 5. Proc. Nat. Con. Fr. Gr.
6. Dochnahl Führ. Obstkunde 3:21. 1858. 7. Ill. Handb. 61 fig., 62. 1860. 8. Leroy Dict. Pom. 5:228, 229 fig., 230. 1877. 9. Mathieu Nom. Pom. 377, 378. 1889. 10. Cat. Cong. Pom. France 37. 1906.
Ronald's Large Black Heart. 11. Forsyth Treat. Fr. Trees 42, 43. 1803.
Guigne Noire a Gros Fruit. 12. Cat. Cong. Pom. France 36. 1906.
Tartarian. 13. Am. Pom. Soc. Cat. 26. 1909.
[Black Tartarian in 'Cherries of Utah']