The tree which yields the fruit known as the Queen Anne cherry is a cultivar, or variety, of Prunus avium, the genus and species with also yields all other commonly consumed cherry fruits of various cultivars and types, including perhaps the most famous of all, the Bing cherry.
Frequent readers with a propensity for remembering botanical names will recognize the similarity to Prunus serotina, or Black Cherry, one of my favorite woods with which to work. P. avium is the species which yields edible fruits, of which Queen Anne is a yellow and red variety, very similar in appearance to the Rainier cherry, but being slightly tarter. Queen Anne cherries often find their way into “cordials,” chocolate covered with syrupy centers that are most commonly sold around the winter holidays. They are also available canned.
P. avium is native to a wide swath of territory ranging from as far north in Europe as Norway, south across the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa, and eastward as far as central Asia with a small subpopulation in Himalaya Mountains. P. avium has been planted practically worldwide for its fruit and is now even naturalized in parts of North America and Australia.
In the United States, P. avium is most commonly found in the Pacific Northwestern states of Washington and Oregon as well as in northern Michigan, all places where commercial growing and harvesting operations are based.
For the sake of common understanding, I will refer to P. avium from here forward simply as Queen Anne cherry.
Because Queen Anne cherry trees are not commonly used for their timber, being of interest almost exclusively for their fruit, my usual sources of information about wood are silent. However, it is noted that Queen Anne cherry wood is hard and slightly reddish in color.
The generalized working characteristics of Queen Anne cherry are not noted in any professional resources for the reasons noted above. However, I can report that when freshly turned, the wood does have a delightful, if faint, sweet cherry-like scent. My additional observations and experiences will be noted at the end of this post.
Pricing and Availability
Queen Anne cherry trees are not harvested for timber, but it is possible, albeit unlikely, that one could locate pieces of the wood that have been recovered in the process of orchard pruning or through the removal of orchard trees or specimen trees in gardens. It never hurts to develop a relationship with local “tree surgeons” or other professionals who remove trees on a routine basis as a potential source of unusual woods.
In this blog, I always recommend a range of vendors with whom I have done considerable business and in whom I have great confidence. These vendors are: West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, NC Wood, Got Wood, WoodTurningz, Woodturningblanks4U, Amazon Exotic Hardwoods, Exotic Woods USA, and Griffin Exotic Wood.
My smallish piece of Queen Anne cherry was purchased from Exotic Woods USA, a dealer in Florida that often features unusual species obtained from local private gardens and homes. The piece was purchased in August of 2015 for about $11.00.
None of the other wood dealers with which I am familiar sell Queen Anne cherry at this time, nor have I ever known them to. I suspect that this piece was quite unique and unlikely to be replicated in the future.
Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers. In your search for Queen Anne Cherry, this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings. I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.