Ume is also a dialect of Sami languages

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Ume Plum

Ume flower, March
Scientific classification
Species:P. mume
Binomial name
Prunus mume

Ume (梅) is a Japanese plum (Prunus mume, Rosaceae). The tree orginates from China, but has grown in Japan since ancient times. Japanese often eat the fruit pickled as Umeboshi 梅干, or drink juice or liqueur (Ume-shu 梅酒) made from it. The tree is also cultivated for its blossom.

In Japan there are more than 300 varieties of ume. They are classified into "wild plum" type, "crimson flowered" type and bungo type. The best fruit comes from the bungo trees, the crimson flowered trees are grown mainly for decoration. Wild plum trees are used as grafting stock.

The tree blossoms in late January or February, before the leaves appear. Each flower has five petals and is one to three cm in diameter. The flowers are typically white, though cultivars may have pink or magenta flowers. The leaves appear shortly after the petals fall. The leaves are oval, with a pointed tip. The Japanese Bush Warbler is said to be first heard when the blossoms appear.

The fruit ripens in June. The ripening of the fruit coincides with the Japanese rainy season (tsuyu or plum rains). Each fruit is round with a groove running from the stalk to the tip. The skin becomes red as the fruit ripens, and the flesh becomes yellow.

The fruit is used in chinese medicine, where it is said to be effective against parasites as well as stopping ulcers, and promoting a strong digestive system and heart.

Before the Edo period, and especially during the Heian period the more restrained blossom of the plum tree was preferred over the more showing sakura blossom.

The latin name (Prunus mume) preserves the old pronunciation in Japan, "mme". It is said to derive from Chinese "my" or "may".

Ume blossoms are often used as spring  in Japanese .
Ume blossoms are often used as spring kigo in Japanese haiku.

Culinary Use

Ume juice is extracted by preserving the fruits in sugar. It tastes sweet and acidic, and is a refreshing drink, often enjoyed in the summer. Ume-shu (梅酒) is an alcoholic drink made by steeping ume in spirit. It is sweet and smooth. The taste and aroma of ume-shu can appeal to even those people who normally dislike alcohol.

Umeboshi are pickled plums. They are sometimes flavoured with shiso. They are red and salty. Umeboshi are eaten with rice as part of a bento.

See also

Ume, Oita is also the name of a city in Oita Template:Wikibookspar Template:Wikibookspar Template:Commons

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Prunus mume in bloom
Missing image
Fruiis of Prunus mume

fr:Prunus mume ja:ウメ


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