Montmorency is the most popular Sour Cherry grown in America. No one questions its supremacy. Probably half of the cherry trees in New York, Sweet or Sour, are Montmorencies and at least three-fourths of all the trees of the Sour Cherry are of this variety. It leads in the demands for this fruit in the markets, for the cannery and for home use as a culinary cherry. Several characters give it first place. It is surpassed by no other Sour Cherry, in New York at least, in vigor, health and productiveness of tree. In the last character, in particular, it is supreme. Year in and year out, Montmorency trees are fruitful. Possibly, too, no other Sour Cherry is adapted to a greater diversity of soils than Montmorency, which, with capacity to stand heat and cold, makes the variety suitable to wide variations in environment. The cherries are in no way remarkable not much above the average for an Amarelle in size, appearance or quality, in all of these characters being much inferior to Large Montmorency. The fruit has the advantage of being presentable in appearance and fit for culinary purposes several days before it is fully ripe and this adds to the value of the variety for the market. Brown-rot takes less toll from this cherry than of others of its kind probably because of relatively firm flesh and thick skin. These characters, also, make the fruit stand handling well in harvesting, shipping and on the markets. The preserved product, whether canned at home or commercially, is attractive in appearance and very good. Montmorency is not a dessert cherry but for those who like Sour Cherries it may be eaten out of hand with relish when it is fully matured. Some maintain that the variety falls short in the size of the tree, which is seldom more than medium, but the head is spreading and much-branched and the fruit is borne in clusters thickly scattered throughout the whole head so that the total yield from a tree is greater than would be thought from its size. For any and all purposes to which Sour Cherries are put Montmorency may be recommended as the best in its season.
Unfortunately several quite distinct cherries bear the name Montmorency and it has been most difficult to separate them in pomological literature. To make matters worse, all of them have been much confused with other varieties, Early Richmond in particular. The different Montmorencies and Early Richmond originated in the Montmorency Valley, France, several centuries ago, at least before the Seventeenth Century, probably as seedlings of Cerise Hative or of Cerise Commune. These Montmorency cherries differ from each other principally in their stems and fruit, one having long stems and moderate-sized, regular fruit; one shorter stems and larger fruit; and the third, very short, thick stems and oblate, irregular fruit showing a distinct suture. The first cherry has been generally known, particularly among the French, as Montmorency a Longue Queue or some times Cerise de Montmorency. This is the Montmorency of this sketch. Duhamel, in 1768, was the first writer to mention this cherry directly and according to his statement it was then esteemed around Paris, being superior in productiveness to the Large Montmorency.
Montmorency early found its way into England, where it soon became confused with its probable parent, the French Cerise Hative or the English Kentish. In a short time it had replaced Kentish in many nurseries and came to be called Kentish in much of the literature of the time. just when Montmorency was introduced to this country is not known but it has been cultivated here under various names for many years. William Prince spoke of it in 1832 as the Long Stem Montmorency and it has long and commonly been known here as Montmorency Ordinaire. Montmorency is to be found in nearly every nursery in the United States under various names, some nurserymen using the French name, others the English, while still others are selling the variety as Large Montmorency. Many supposed strains have been given new names but it is doubtful if any distinct strains of this cherry exist. The American Pomological Society added Montmorency to its fruit catalog list in 1897 using the qualifying term ordinaire which was dropped in 1909.
Tree large, vigorous, upright-spreading, with the lower branches inclined to droop, round-topped, productive-; trunk and branches smooth; branches reddish-brown tinged with light ash-gray, with a few lenticels of medium size; branchlets slender, reddish-brown partly overspread with ash-gray, smooth, with a few small, inconspicuous lenticels.
Leaves three inches long, one and one-half inches wide, folded upwards or flattened, oval to obovate, leathery; upper surface dull green, smooth; lower surface pale green, with a few scattering hairs; apex and base variable in shape; margin doubly crenate, glandular; petiole one inch long, tinged with dull red, glandless or with from one to three small, globose, brownish or yellowish glands, usually at the base of the blade.
Buds obtuse, plump, free, arranged singly or in clusters on short spurs; leaf-smn obscure; season of bloom intermediate; flowers white, one and one-fourth inches across; borne in scattered clusters in twos and threes; pedicels one inch long, glabrous, greenish; calyx-tube green, obconic, glabrous; calyx-lobes tinged with red, broad, serrate, glabrous within and without, reflexed; petals roundish to obovate, crenate, with short, blunt claws and shallow, crenate apex; filaments one-fourth inch long; pistil glabrous, equal to or slightly longer than the stamens.
Fruit matures in mid-season; three-fourths of an inch in diaxneter, roundish-oblate, slightly compressed; cavity abrupt; suture very shallow; apex roundish; color light to rather dark red; dots numerous, small, russet, inconspicuous; stem thick, usually with a faint tinge of red, one inch long, adhering well to the fruit; skin thin, tender, separating from the pulp; flesh pale yellow, with a reddish tinge, with abundant light pink juice, tender and melting, sprightly, tart; of very good quality; Stone free, small, roundish ovate, flattened, pointed, with smooth surfaces which are tinged with red.
1. Duhamel Trait. Arb. Fr. 1:181,
182. 1768. 2. Kraft Pom. Aust. 1:6, Tab. 15 fig. 1. 1792.
3. Christ Woerterb. 292. 1802. 4. Truchsess-Heim Kirschensort. 656, 657, 691. 1819. 5. Kenrick Am. Orch. 281. 1832. 6. Poiteau Pom. Franc. 2: No. 14, P1. 1846. 7. Mas Le Verger 8:53, 54, fig. 25. 1866-73. & Pom. Franc. 7: No. 3, Pl. 3. 1871. 9. Leroy Dict. Pom. 5:361, 362 fig., 36,3, 364. 1877.
10. Mathieu Nom. Pom. 369. 1889. 11. Guide Prat. 9:196. 1895. 22. Del. Sta. An. Rpt. 12:192 flg- 4,113, 114. 1900. 13. Am. Gard. 22:266, 267. 1901. 14. Am. POM. SOC. Cal. 27. 1909.
Kleine Glaskirsche von Montmorency. 15. Truchsess-Heim Kirschensort- 463, 464, 465. 1819. Long Stem Montmorency. 16. Prince Pom. Man. 2: 139- 1832.
Amarelle Royale- 17. Mortillet Le Cerisier 2: 19l-195, fig. 53. 1866.
Montmorency Ordinaire. 18. Am. Pom. Soc. Cat. 17. 1897. 19. Ia. Sta. Bul. 73:75, fig. 15. 1903.
20. Am. Pom. Soc. Sp. Rpt. 3,3, 34, P1. 2. 1904-05.
[Montmorency in 'Cherries of Utah']