23 January 2011


Prunus Mume starts to flower 2011
The ideal person is as pure as a plum blossom,
 as strong as a pine, and as pliant as bamboo.
Here in Savannah we usually have blossoms of the Japanese apricot/ Chinese plum (Prunus Mume) for New Years Day, but this year, a month later the warm days have brought out the blossoms  and the bees are busy.  The plum blossoms have been frequently depicted in Chinese and Japanese art and poetry for centuries. The plum, bamboo, and pine,  are  the "Three Friends of the Cold". 

The Four Gentlemen: orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum, and plum blossom

These four plants are used in Chinese painting as they represent the unfolding of the seasons through the year (the orchid for spring, the bamboo for summer, the chrysanthemum for autumn, and the plum blossom for winter).  They are also depicted in Mahjong tiles.

No garden is complete without
the Three Friends of Winter

Japanese Flowering Apricot is a long-lived flowering fruit tree that forms a gnarled 20-foot-tall tree. During the winter the bare branches are covered with a multitude of small, fragrant, white or pink flowers.

first blossoms to open 

The fruit is generally considered inedible, in the East the bitter and sour fruit is eaten salted or soaked in alcohol for several years.

Prunus mume

  • Umeshu is a Japanese liqueur made from ume fruits (still green ones), sugar and shōchū
  • Umeboshi is a pickled/ salted plum

Prunus mume G02
Prunus Mume Bonsai

Prunus mume takes well to pot culture.

At the North Carolina State University’s JC Raulston Arboretum there is a collection of 50 varieties of Prunus mume.

Ink Plum: The Making of a Chinese Scholar-Painting GenreFlowering Plum and the Palace Lady: Interpretations of Chinese PoetryGuide to Capturing a Plum BlossomThe Three Friends Of WinterPink Prunus Mume (Japanese Apricot) in March Kyoto, Japan Photographic Poster Print by Frank Leather, 30x40

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