The cherry originated near the Caspian Sea. By 300 BCE the Greeks were cultivating cherries. The Romans spread cherries throughout Europe and Asia minor. Cherries came to North America by way of early English and French settlers.
Today there are ~1,200 cultivars of cherries; 900 of the sweet variety, 300 sour. Cherries grow in temperate latitudes.
The cherry tree is especially beloved in Japan as a spiritual metaphor, where the short-lived April blossoms are a reminder of the transience of existence. The summer cherry fruiting season is also short.
Cherries offer dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and phytonutrients.