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History of Tart Cherries in Hungary

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History of Tart Cherries in Hungary

The tart cherry is native to the Carpathian Basin where it is a common wild and cultivated tree. In the Hungarian language, sweet and tart cherry have very different names suggesting that the early Hungarians distinguished between these two related fruit types. The Hungarian name for sweet cherry is cseresznye, while the name for tart cherry is meggy. Meggy is presumed to originate from the word mol which means a berry from a mountain plant (Faust and Surányi, 1997). The large number of locations with tart cherry in their name such as Meggyespatak (cherry creek) suggests that locations with native tart cherries were widespread.

The first cultivated landrace variety of tart cherry in Hungary is named Pándy. It was believed to have been discovered along the river Körös, which flows from the Carpathian Mountains of Romania to the Hungarian river Tisza. Whether Pándy is the name of a person who first discovered this variety or whether it's named after the village of Pánd is unclear. However, since its identification in approximately 1848, Pándy was vegetatively propagated and distributed across the countryside.


Faust M and D Surányi. 1997. Origin and dissemination of cherry. Horticultural Reviews. (eds. J. Janick). John Wiley and Sons Inc., N.Y. p. 263-317.

"Dr. Miklos Faust (1927-1998), American-Hungarian and fruit scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was a source of inspiration, encouragement, and assistance. I proudly dedicate the release of Balaton® tart cherry to Dr. Miklos Faust, an outstanding scholar, humanitarian, and colleague." Amy Iezzoni