The different types of cherry fruit available are either sweet or tart. Belonging to two different species, sweet cherries (Prunus avium) are large, appear yellow, red or purple-black and can be dark- or light-hued. Tart cherries (Prunus cerasus), also referred to as red cherries or sour cherries, are small and appear in varying shades of red. Sweet cherries are generally eaten fresh or as maraschino cherries; tart cherries constitute jams and pie fillings.
Tart Cherry Fruit Types
Tart cherry fruit types come in many different varieties, including the following: Montmorency, a large cherry fruit with bright red skin and white flesh, makes up 90 percent of North America's tart cherry production; Surefire, a medium bright red fruit, is extremely tart and blooms late; Balaton is a larger tart cherry with sweeter, firmer flesh than Montmorency; Balaton is ideal for home gardening, according to the Vermont Cooperative Extension.
Sweet Cherry Fruit Types (Dark)
Dark sweet cherries, sometimes referred to as "black cherries," are available in several different types. Cavalier ripens early (in June) with medium/large, dark red fruit; the dry flesh is firm, has a pleasing flavor and is crack resistant. Viva is a semi-firm, medium-size, dark red fruit with a sweet taste and "moderate" crack resistance. Stella, a black, heart-shaped cherry is not crack resistant. Hedelfingen is a crack-resistant, medium/large black cherry fruit ideal for eating fresh, according to the Vermont Cooperative Extension.
Sweet Cherry Fruit Types (Light)
Light sweet cherries include Emperor Francis, a yellow/white cherry displaying a red blush, offers little crack resistance; Napoleon, also referred to as Royal Anne or Napoleon Wax, is a pale yellow sweet cherry fruit with splashes of bright red; Napoleon cherries are medium with firm, sweet flesh; Rainier, a large cherry, has yellow and red-blushed skin, firm flesh and moderate to high crack resistance, according to the Vermont Cooperative Extension.