Plum Blossom - Yusuf Alioglu Photography

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Prunus mume, commonly known as ume (梅:うめ?) or Japanese apricot, or Chinese plum is a species of Asian plum in the family Rosaceae. The flower, long a beloved subject in the traditional painting of East Asia and Vietnam, is usually translated as plum blossom.

The tree originated in China[citation needed] and was later brought to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. The tree is cultivated for its fruit and flowers. Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is actually more closely related to the apricot.

The tree flowers in late winter, typically late January or February in East Asia, before the leaves appear. Each flower has five petals and is 1–3 cm in diameter. The flowers have coloring ranging from white to rose to deep red. The leaves appear shortly after the petals fall. The leaves are oval, with a pointed tip. The fruit ripens in early summer, typically June in East Asia. The ripening of the fruit coincides with the rainy season of China and Japan, méiyǔ (梅雨, literally "ume rains"), read baiu or tsuyu in Japanese. Each fruit is round with a groove running from the stalk to the tip. The skin is green when unripe, and turns yellow, sometimes with a red blush, as it ripens. The flesh becomes yellow.

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