Sketch of the Evolution of Our Native Fruits (1898)
Liberty Hyde Bailey
Finally, Charles E. Pennock of Bellvue, Colorado, is introducing the "Improved Dwarf Rocky Mountain cherry," a description and history of which follow, made in 1892, by the present writer, in his "Cultivated Native Plums and Cherries" (Bulletin 38, Cornell Experiment Station):
Mr. Pennock's "Improved Dwarf Rocky Mountain cherry" is the only named cultivated form, so far as I know, of pure Prunus Besseyi. His first account of this fruit, as given in the "American Farm and Horticulturist" for April, 1892, is as follows:
"I have never seen a bush more than four feet high. They should be planted about eight feet apart, as they grow on the ground. The first I ever saw or heard of was in 1878. I was making and floating railroad ties down the Cache la Poudré river, in the mountains, about eight miles from my present farm. I thought at that time they were the most valuable fruit I ever saw growing wild. I got a start of these cherries, and have been improving them by planting seed (pits) of the best fruit. They vary somewhat in size, flavor, and season of ripening, and are capable of great improvement. I have known only one bush that was not good in my experience with it. We have nearly all kinds of fruit, but we like the cherry to eat out of hand when fully ripe better than any of its season. It ripens a month later than Morello—in fact, I picked them off the bushes and exhibited at our county fair September 23, 24, and 28, where they attracted a great deal of attention. I have learned since I have had these cherries that other residents of the county had them in their gardens more than twenty years ago, and have them yet, so I do not claim to be the discoverer of them, but I believe I am the first to improve them and make their value known to the public. They are very scarce in their wild state here. There are two kinds of them, one that grows outside the mountains in the foot-hills, and is in every way inferior to the one that grows near the bank of the Cache la Poudré river. There are not 2,000 of these cherries of mine in existence. I could sell wagon loads of these cherries at 10 cents per quart. I have kept 200 of the young trees, which I intend to send to responsible parties who desire them for testing. The young trees I have are one year from seed. I have had them loaded down at two years of age from seed. They have never failed to bear fruit every year; late frosts never affect them: they are entirely hardy, having endured 40 degrees below zero without injury; ripen when all others are gone; would grace any lawn when in blossom; are easier pitted than other cherries."
Pennock's Improved Dwarf Rocky Mountain cherry (Prunus Besseyi Bailey)
From 2nd Annual Report of the New York State Dept. of Agriculture 1894.