Yoshizen's Blog

Plum (?) Flower

Plum Flower-2-A09A2192

Well,  whether this one is Plum or Apricot is a difficult question.   Never the less, to my eyes,

this flower is the closest to the Japanese Ume 梅.    Cherry,  Plum,  Apricot,  Peach are all in the

same  Rosaseae family.  And as  Plum, Apricot, Peach belong to the same genus  Prunus, so they

are very close and easy to cross between.  Adding to this,  many more garden varieties exists.

So, here, I just call this flower as plum.  (Ume 梅 said to be called  Japanese Apricot  though  🙂 )

Plum Flower-Fisheye-A09A2183

Plum Flower-A09A2194

What makes this flower distinctive  (against  Cherry or Peach) is,  not only it blooms earliest

(in February) among the Prunus,  when flower opens,  the leaves starts to shoots as well. 

And something notable about  Ume is,  despite Cherry is the National flower,  when Japanese

select  Tree of Distinction,  they are 松,竹,梅 = Pine, Bamboo and Ume, Ume was regarded above  

Cherry. (I haven’t found the reason why)  In comparison to the Cherry,  Ume is giving rather

sombre impression,  so, if we say the Cherry is Yang,  Ume is Yin and influences where to plant.

Like Sakura (Cherry) spot,  there are many places to see Ume = Kitano Tenman-gu in Kyoto is

the most famous place to visit.  (In there,  Pink  variety as well, which called Kou-bai / 紅梅)

Plum Flower-Fisheye-2-A09A2179

(This close-up was taken by Canon Fish-eye Lens, while lens was held away from the mount)

Japanese makes Ume fruits to a notorious pickles = Ume-boshi (梅干し) which is only edible to

the Japanese because of its almost poisonously sour and salty taste.(I don’t miss it at all  😀 )

So that, if you put it in Onigiri (おにぎり = Sea-weed wrapped rice ball) it wouldn’t go bad for days. 

(I’m sure,  no germ could survive in such environment  😀 ) 

What I’m wondering more is,  why no genuine Ume was imported and planted in this country ?    

In comparison to have many types of Cherry here,  Ume-like tree is only this type. 

I don’t know why. —– So,  if  anybody knowledgeable there,  please let me know.

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6 Responses

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  1. elenacaravela said, on March 7, 2013 at 00:30

    Sorry, I have no idea, but it is a lovely flower whatever it is:)

    • yoshizen said, on March 7, 2013 at 06:27

      Thank you Elena.
      Yes this is a lovely flower and it’s not rare, yet strangely it stays inconspicuous.
      —– May be its flower’s pale white color melt into the back ground.

  2. Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on March 7, 2013 at 01:58

    I have heard about this umeboshi, the sour, pickled plums, and that it is very sour, like you say. I’ve also heard of something like umeshu (?) (I may not be remembering the word correctly)? Is that an alcoholic beverage made with plums?

    • yoshizen said, on March 7, 2013 at 07:32

      Yes your memory is correct Karen.
      Umeshu (梅酒) is almost the same as a western Apricot Liqueur.
      Difference is, we use a spirit distilled from rice-wine (Shouchu) as a base.
      In the summer evening, have a grass or two Umeshu on ice is in a heaven.
      (Though, I haven’t tasted it more than 40 years)

      To make and mature it takes at least 6 months though, once when I was
      taking picture of the metal specimens in a National Laboratory, one of the staff
      brought few Kg of Ume fruits and put them into a 10 litter huge bottle.
      To which, we added few Kg of pure Glucose and pure Ethyl Alcohol and
      the same amount of pure distilled water, all in top scientific grade (99.999% purity).
      Then we put the bottle in a Ultra-sonic Generator, and power-on overnight.
      Next morning, the contents of the bottle changed to golden colored fully matured Umeshu !
      —– (officially, it was an appropriation of governmental properties = corruption though,
      even the administrative boss enjoyed the drinks 🙂 )
      The most respectable top scientist also loves a joke and a drink. 😀
      (Science Lab’ got all sorts of useful apparatus, warm-up sake, chill a beer etc. of which
      the temperature can be controlled to 0.1 degree accuracy 😀 )

  3. drawandshoot said, on March 9, 2013 at 15:50

    Beautiful images.
    I use umeboshi (plum) vinegar often in my cooking.

    • yoshizen said, on March 9, 2013 at 16:13

      Thank you Karen.
      I know “Umeboshi Vinegar” is very strong.
      Just heard the word “Umebosh” causes the seclusion of saliva
      and feel a pain of a gland under the ears.
      (So, you can test, a person is Japanese or not, with this word 😀 )


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