Royal Ann Cherries are sweet cherries. They have firm, white flesh inside, and yellow skin with a pink flush on it.
The tree is hardy and productive.
Some years it bears too much, resulting in smaller fruit and yields the next year.
Another problem growers face is that the skin on the cherries tends to crack, and consumers don’t like this.
Royal Ann Cherries are used a great deal for making Maraschino Cherries in North America
Royal Ann Cherries had previously been called Napoleon Cherries until a man named Henderson Lewelling renamed them.
Henderson Lewelling was a Quaker who was born in North Carolina in 1809. At the age of 11, he moved to Indiana with his parents. In 1837, he moved further west to Salem, Iowa, with his wife and his brother Seth, where they ran a general store and a small nursery. By 1840, Henderson had enough money to build a house which still stands, called the “Lewelling House – Quaker Museum”. He had a tunnel with a trapdoor built to help slaves fleeing along the Underground Railroad to Canada. In 1847, the travelling bug hit him again. He moved to Oregon, or rather, to what was the “Oregon Territory” in those days, and brought many trees with him — some sources estimate 700 to 800 one-year old trees. Some Lewelling family genealogy sources say that the waggon train he was with was attacked by Indians that stopped attacking when they saw all the trees — but not all family history stories are unembellished (other sources say that they merely camped overnight near an Indian band).
At any rate, he, his wife and his 8 children made it to what would become Milwaukie, Oregon. During the long journey, some of the labels on the trees got lost or mixed up (or knocked off by arrows: anything’s possible, given the range of stories.) He couldn’t quite remember all the names, but remembered that many of them had to do with royalty. So, not remembering that the Napoleon cherry was actually called Napoleon, he named it the Royal Ann.
A few years later, he was joined in Oregon by his brother Seth in 1853, who would introduce from there to the world the Bing Cherry. And a few years after that, the Lambert Cherry would be discovered in the orchards Henderson had started.
A year after Seth’s arrival, Henderson got the travel bug once more, and was off to San Francisco for the gold rush — he wasn’t there to dig gold, though: he planted apple trees.
In Britain, these are called “White Napoleon”, because of their white flesh.