The Prunus avium, usually referred to as wild cherry, sweet cherry, or gean, is a species of cherry and a flowering plant that belong to the rose family of Rosaceae. Cherries are indigenous to Europe, Anatolia, Maghreb and western Asia. They also exist on the British Isles, in Morocco and Tunisia and up north in the Trondheimsfjord region of Norway and in the Caucasus and northern Iran. Cherries even grow in a small and isolated cluster in the western Himalaya.
The sweet cherry is regarded as the most important ancestor of today’s cultivated cherry and it is one of two cherry varieties most of the current commercial, edible cherry cultivars derive from. The other variety is the sour cherry Prunus cerasus, which is primarily used for cooking.
Every part of the cherry plant, except for the ripe cherries themselves, is somewhat toxic and contains cyanogenic glycosides.