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Recent fruit breeding efforts by the University of Saskatchewan have expanded the choices for prairie hardy sour cherries to allow home growers a wide variety to choose from.  From well-known parent varieties such as Carmine Jewel and Evans to the new Romance Series cherries like Juliet, Romeo and Crimson Passion, there is a dwarf sour cherry suited to every taste and use.  The City of Grande Prairie hopes to expand the selection of cherries in our public spaces to include specimens from each variety currently on the market.  For right now, however, here is a summary of the cherries available to the public:

Nanking Cherry

  • Dark red, grape-sized fruits
  • Shrub form - grows 6-10 feet tall
  • Pinkish-white flowers
  • Fruit is tart but fine for fresh eating - used heavily in wine, juice, jams and jellies
  • Also used as a food source for birds
  • Very hardy; well adapted to Grande Prairie's cold winters, hot summers and periodic droughts.
  • Plant at least two of these in order to set fruit properly

Evans Cherry

  • Is grown as a small tree - up to 14 feet in height
  • Bright red fruit
  • Fruit size: 4.5g
  • Ripens in August
  • Fruit is mostly used for jams, jellies, and pies but is fine for fresh eating as well if allowed to mature fully to a rich burgundy color.

Carmine Jewel

  • Black cherry
  • Small-pitted
  • Fruit size: 3.5g
  • Early maturing


  • Dark red colour
  • Excellent for fresh eating
  • Fruit size: 5.0g
  • Moderate vigour and high yielding


  • Dark red/black in colour
  • Use for fresh eating, juicing and processing
  • Fruit size: 4.0g
  • Similar to Carmine Jewel but matures much later

For more information on prairie hardy sour cherries, check out the University of Saskatchewan's website.

Last updated: 6/26/2017 9:23:40 AM