Charles Mason Hovey
THE BLACK EAGLE CHERRY
Black Eagle. Horticultural Transactions, vol. ii. pl. 9.
The Black Eagle is one of the finest cherries in cultivation. It ripens soon after the May Duke, about the same time as the Old Black Heart, and is surpassed by no other variety of its season. The fruit is of good size, with a very tender flesh, and a peculiarly rich and luscious flavor. The tree is a good, without being an over-abundant, bearer, and the fruit is less liable to injury from heavy rains than many other kinds.
Two different accounts are given of the origin of the Black Eagle. In the Horticultural Transactions, as above quoted, where it was first figured, it is stated to have been produced by Sir Thomas Andrew Knight; but in a subsequent notice of this cherry, in the same work, (vol. viii. p. 258,) as well as in Lindley's Guide to the Orchard, its production is ascribed to Miss Elizabeth Knight. It is, however, of no material consequence whether it was raised by the father or daughter, so long as it originated at Downton Castle, the residence of Mr. Knight. And to him the horticultural world is indebted for its introduction, as well as for several other seedlings of the most superior quality, at the head of which may be named the Elton.
The Black Eagle was raised in 1806, from the seed of the Ambreé, of Duhamel, impregnated with the pollen of the May Duke; and, as the authors of the Pomological Magazine truly remark, "it really combines all that is worth raising in both these varieties."
Mr. Knight sent the Black Eagle, with other fruits, to the Hon. John Lowell, in 1823; but though introduced so long since, it has not yet found its way into very general cultivation. Its merits, however, are so great, that no collection can be considered complete without it.
Tree.—Vigorous, of an erect and spreading habit, similar to the old Bigarreau, and with rather stout annual shoots.
Wood.—Strong, short-jointed, dark brown, partially covered with a grayish epidermis; buds, large, full, short, erect.
Leaves.—Large, oblong, broadest above the middle, acuminate, thick, wavy on the margin, deep green, doubly, but not very deeply, serrated, and slightly pendulous; petioles, rather long, about one and a half inches in length, moderately stout, with reniform glands.
Flowers.—Medium size; petals roundish oval, cupped and imbricated; stamens shorter than the style.
Fruit.—Medium size, about one inch broad, and.seven eighths of an inch long: Form, roundish heart-shaped, flattened at each end, with a deep suture all round, and a large and distinctly indented point at the apex: Skin, dark shining red, nearly black when fully mature: Stem, medium length, about one and a quarter inches long, stout, and inserted in a moderately deep open cavity: Flesh, dark purplish red, slightly firm and very tender: Juice, abundant, rich and high flavored: Stone, roundish, rather small.
Ripe from the first to the middle of July.