Prunus mume • Japanese Apricot or Plum • ウメ • 梅 • ume
[Edited 3/31/17 with better pics + added fruit pic]
We have two of them in our orchard (area U): one with pink blossoms (Prunus mume) and one with white (Prunus mume ‘Down’). This post is about the pink ume, the more mature of the two, growing close to the path and right behind a visitor’s bench along the path.
From wikipedia: Prunus mume is an Asian tree species classified in the Armeniaca section of the genus Prunus subgenus Prunus. Its common names include Chinese plum and Japanese apricot. The flower is usually called plum blossom. This distinct tree species is related to both the plum and apricot trees. Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is more closely related to the apricot. The fruit of the tree is used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooking in juices, as a flavouring for alcohol, as a pickle and in sauces. It is also used in traditional medicine.
The tree’s flowering in late winter and early spring is highly regarded as a seasonal symbol.
From ndsu.edu, by Cedric Charpentier: […] Native to China and Korea, where it has been cultivated for 1500 years, and long known in Japan where it is highly valued as an ornamental, Prunus mume was introduced to Britain in the mid-nineteenth century when some double-flowering Japanese cultivars were imported.
However, it wasn’t until the end of the century that it became established in cultivation. Even today, the eighth edition of W.J. Bean’s Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles, after describing the tree’s virtues, notes that it is uncommon and listed only by a few nurserymen. […]
The relative inattention paid to this remarkable tree by the gardening world becomes difficult to understand when you look at the tree itself.
At 20 feet it is an ideal size for small gardens or a fine accent for larger landscapes. In late spring and summer, handsome dark green foliage, dramatically colored, dark green stems and a pleasant rounded habit distinguish Prunus mume.
But it is during the dark days of winter that this plant exhibits its unique charm. Starting as early as January, depending on the cultivar, the site and the weather, Prunus mume produces beautiful, delicate, fragrant flowers over many weeks just when we need them most. The flowers can be white to red through pink, single or double, and have a rich and spicy fragrance. […]
� `Bonita’, semidouble rose-red blossoms;
� `Dawn’, large ruffled double pink;
� `Peggy Clarke’, double deep rose;
� `Rosemary Clarke’, double white flowers with red calyces;
� `W.B. Clarke’, double pink flowers, weeping plant form;
� ‘Matsubara Red’ Double dark red flowers and red new growth turning green.
� ‘Kobai’, with deep red semi-double flowers, is probably the least difficult to find […]