Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Prunus avium ‘Knight’s Early Black’

A cultivar of Prunus avium L. ‘Fruit large, blunt, heart-shaped, with an uneven surface like that of the Black Tartarian. Stalk two inches long, deeply inserted in a hollow, cup-shaped cavity, Skin of a dark dull red, when fully ripe almost black. Flesh firm, juicy, very deep purple, rich and high flavoured. Ripe a week or ten days earlier than the May Duke. On a south aspect, it will be ripe by the middle of June.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.153/1831].



Horticultural & Botanical History

‘If we were called upon to state specifically the difference between this and the Black Tartarian Cherry, we should certainly be unable to do so; but, at the same time, we should not be the less of opinion that they were distinct. It is well known to fruit-growers, that slight shades of difference, fleeting characters which words are unequal to express, often alone distinguish varieties materially different from each other as objects of cultivation. In figure, size, colour, and flavour, this is nearly identical with the Black Tartarian, but it has the rare merit of ripening earlier; on a south aspect it will be ripe by the middle of June, so that it is even earlier than the May-Duke. The beauty of the fruit is attested by the accompanying figure; its favour is equal to that of most Cherries.

This was raised by Mr. Knight, about 1810, from seed of the Graffion [Bigarreau] impregnated by the May-Duke; the same parentage as the Black Eagle and the Waterloo.’ [PM t.93/1829].

The tree is fairly vigorous, spreading and moderately drooping. An early mid-season cherry of good to very good quality which seldom cracks. Among cherries recommended by the Gardeners Chronicle. [Gard. Chron. 1852, Grubb].



History at Camden Park

Listed in an Addendum to the 1857 catalogue only [Cherry no.18/1857].




Published Apr 22, 2010 - 08:47 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2011 - 04:24 PM

Figured is a fruiting branch with ovate leaves and round deep red, almost black cherries. Pomological Magazine t.93, 1829.

Prunus avium ‘Knight’s Early Black’ | PM t.93/1829 | BHL


Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, England

Common Name

Dessert Cherry

Name in the Camden Park Record

Knight’s Early Black



Confidence level high