The fruit is a fleshy drupe (stone fruit) that is generally heart-shaped to nearly globular, measures about 2 cm (1 inch) in diameter, and varies in colour from yellow through red to nearly black. The acid content of the sweet cherry is low.

The higher acid content of the sour cherry produces its characteristic tart flavour. Sour cherry trees are smaller, rarely over 5 metres (16 feet) in height. The fruit is round to oblate in shape, is generally dark red in colour, and has so much acid that it is not appealing for eating fresh. The duke cherries are intermediate in both tree and fruit characteristics. The fruits of all varieties provide vitamin A and small amounts of such minerals as calcium and phosphorus.