Prunus avium L. includes sweet cherry cultivated for human consumption and wild cherry used for wood, also called mazzards (Webster 1996). The sweet cherry is indigenous to parts of Asia, especially northern Iran, Ukraine, and countries south of the Caucasus mountains. In Europe, Romanian and Georgian wild cherry trees are strongly differentiated from those of central and western Europe (Tavaud 2002). The Georgian wild cherry trees are the most genetically diverse suggesting that this area could have been a main glacial refuge. The ancestors of modern cultivated sweet cherries are believed to have originated around the Caspian and Black Seas, from where they have slowly spread.
Fruit of Prunus cerasus L., the sour cherry tree, are mainly used for processed products such as pies, preserve or liquor. Sour cherry originated from an area overlapping to that of sweet cherry, around the Caspian Sea and close to Istanbul. While sour cherry is less widely cultivated than sweet cherry, large quantities of sour cherries are produced in many European countries and in the USA.