The Unexpected Way Cherries Might Have Come To The UK

Although one of history's more significant landmarks (and fruits), the first cherries to land in the United Kingdom arrived on English soil in a most unexpected manner.

The first known origin of cherries was in Turkey, or what the tomes of history refer to as Asia Minor. From there onwards it spread into Europe via means of the bellies of migrating birds, per California Cherries. The first to cultivate them, it seems, were the Greeks, this theory is enforced by a 300 B.C account by Theophrastus (Aristotle's colleague and successor, per Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) in his "History of Plants" (via Acta Horticulturae).

The Romans took it up later when General Lucius Licinius Lucullus gave his soldiers a directive to bring back sweet cherries from Greece (per LifeGate, Resources for History). In the ensuing years, the era of Roman domination, cherries became common. They featured in Eastern Europe along sidewalks and gardens. In fact, they were so bountiful that cherries made up part of the Roman soldiers' rations.

The cherry's historical path to England

The English Appleman reports that cherries were brought to the United Kingdom 500 years ago at the behest of King Henry VIII. The monarch, known for polygamy and his voracious appetite, first encountered the sweet fruit when he made forays into Belgium in 1513. That first taste of cherry resulted in the cultivation of orchards back in England. However, this was not its first occurrence in the island country.

According to Discovering Britain, the delicate white cherry blossoms that show their pretty little faces in the south of England every spring tell a different story. These flowers, as history dictates, reached England 1,472 years prior, in 43 A.D. This was the era that the Roman empire fervently applied itself to the invasion of what we now know as England. Apparently, soldiers had an affinity for cherries and ate them, spitting out their seeds as they went. To this day. the fruits mark the paths of their old conquerors, according to Historic U.K.

While these cherries may be considered wild now, there is a great likelihood that they were actually cultivated as the Roman invasion of England. This likely occurred after the Roman soldiers brought back cultivated cherries from Greece, planting them in Rome, per LifeGate.